- to challenge the power of; resist boldly or openly: to defy parental authority.
- to offer effective resistance to: a fort that defies attack.
- to challenge (a person) to do something deemed impossible: They defied him to dive off the bridge.
- Archaic. to challenge to a combat or contest.
- a challenge; a defiance.
Origin of defy
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for defies
As a result, the legislation “defies the dichotomy of pro-life and pro-choice,” says Diaz-Tello.Tennessee is Making Pregnancy a Criminal Liability
April 15, 2014
Faye is so devoted to Don that she defies her ethical code in order to put him into contact with potential new clients.Every Woman Don Draper’s Hooked Up With on ‘Mad Men’
April 13, 2014
Indeed, writers at prominent online media outlets chide us for “demeaning” vaccine-deniers, saying to do so “defies explanation.”Thanks, Anti-Vaxxers. You Just Brought Back Measles in NYC.
March 13, 2014
This case simply has not been made, nor can it be, because it defies logic.Conservative Christians Selectively Apply Biblical Teachings in the Same-Sex Marriage Debate
Kirsten Powers, Jonathan Merritt
February 23, 2014
Anyone who defies these so-called “norms” becomes worthy of comment and scrutiny, and the LGBT community knows this all too well.Ellen Page Comes Out As Gay in a Beautiful Speech at Human Rights Campaign Foundation Conference
February 15, 2014
It is the falsehood of the silliest poetry to say he defies the image of his beloved.Weighed and Wanting
I now come to a point in the drama which at once demands and defies explanation.The Man Shakespeare
All is soil for the plough, all defies our designs for complete explanation.Mountain Meditations
If, however, one of the challenged be a spirited fellow, he defies him.A Supplementary Chapter to the Bible in Spain
He defies the stick, and he would defy the gallows if it were far enough off.The Memoires of Casanova, Complete
Jacques Casanova de Seingalt
- to resist (a powerful person, authority, etc) openly and boldly
- to elude, esp in a baffling wayhis actions defy explanation
- formal to challenge or provoke (someone to do something judged to be impossible); dareI defy you to climb that cliff
- archaic to invite to do battle or combat
Word Origin and History for defies
c.1300, "to renounce one's allegiance;" mid-14c., "to challenge, defy," from Old French defier, desfier "to challenge, defy, provoke; renounce (a belief), repudiate (a vow, etc.)," from Vulgar Latin *disfidare "renounce one's faith," from Latin dis- "away" (see dis-) + fidus "faithful" (see faith).