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[geyn-sey, geyn-sey] /ˈgeɪnˌseɪ, geɪnˈseɪ/
verb (used with object), gainsaid, gainsaying.
to deny, dispute, or contradict.
to speak or act against; oppose.
Origin of gainsay
First recorded in 1250-1300, gainsay is from the Middle English word gainsaien. See again, say1
Related forms
gainsayer, noun
ungainsaid, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for gainsaying
Historical Examples
  • "Beatrice, come in here instantly," called my aunt in a voice there was no gainsaying.

    Miss Million's Maid Bertha Ruck
  • It tells its own terrible tale, and there is no gainsaying it.

    A Handful of Stars Frank W. Boreham
  • I'm writing a good sound science book, which there's no gainsaying.

  • Katharine's desertion was an established fact past all gainsaying.

    The Brentons Anna Chapin Ray
  • There was no gainsaying that—though the boy himself, at first, did not recognize it as wooing at all.

    The Road to Understanding Eleanor H. Porter
  • But there was no gainsaying, even in his confused condition, Music Mountain.

    Nan of Music Mountain Frank H. Spearman
  • In another place he says of himself, "All day long have I stretched out my hands to a disobedient and gainsaying generation."

    Talks To Farmers Charles Haddon Spurgeon
  • Mrs. Middleton was sentimental—there was no gainsaying that; she was rather gushing.

    Elsie Marley, Honey Joslyn Gray
  • It is not a boy, but a Boanerges-ministry that introduces the Word with most effect to a gainsaying world.

    Young's Night Thoughts Edward Young
  • The girl's answer was spoken with a determination there was no gainsaying.

    El Diablo Brayton Norton
British Dictionary definitions for gainsaying


verb -says, -saying, -said
(transitive) (archaic or literary) to deny (an allegation, a statement, etc); contradict
Derived Forms
gainsayer, noun
Word Origin
C13 gainsaien, from gain-against + saien to say1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for gainsaying



"contradict," c.1300, literally "say against," from Old English gegn- "against" (see again) + say (v.). "Solitary survival of a once common prefix" [Weekley], which was used to form such now-obsolete compounds as gain-taking "taking back again," gainclap "a counterstroke," gainbuy "redeem," and gainstand "to oppose." Related: Gainsaid; gainsaying.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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