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  1. and not only so but; not only that but also; indeed: many good, nay, noble qualities.
  2. Archaic. no (used in dissent, denial, or refusal).
  1. a denial or refusal.
  2. a negative vote or voter.

Origin of nay

1125–75; Middle English nai, nei < Old Norse nei no, contraction of ne not + ei ever; see na, ay1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for nay


sentence substitute
  1. mainly archaic, or dialect an archaic or dialect (except in voting by voice) word for no 1
    1. a person who votes in the negative
    2. a negative vote
  1. (sentence modifier) archaic an emphatic form of no 1
Compare aye 1

Word Origin

C12: from Old Norse nei, from ne not + ei ever, ay 1
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

Word Origin and History for nay

word of negation, late 12c., from a Scandinavian source, cf. Old Norse nei, compound of ne "not" (see un-) + ei "ever" (see aye (2)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper