• synonyms


[verb dih-fahy; noun dih-fahy, dee-fahy]
See more synonyms for defy on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object), de·fied, de·fy·ing.
  1. to challenge the power of; resist boldly or openly: to defy parental authority.
  2. to offer effective resistance to: a fort that defies attack.
  3. to challenge (a person) to do something deemed impossible: They defied him to dive off the bridge.
  4. Archaic. to challenge to a combat or contest.
Show More
noun, plural de·fies.
  1. a challenge; a defiance.
Show More

Origin of defy

1250–1300; Middle English defien < Old French desfier, equivalent to des- dis-1 + fier to trust < Vulgar Latin *fīdāre, variant of Latin fīdere
Related formsde·fi·a·ble, adjectivede·fy·ing·ly, adverbpre·de·fy, verb (used with object), pre·de·fied, pre·de·fy·ing.re·de·fy, verb (used with object), re·de·fied, re·de·fy·ing.un·de·fi·a·ble, adjectiveun·de·fi·a·bly, adverbun·de·fied, adjective

Synonyms for defy

See more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for defy

resist, spurn, thwart, violate, withstand, confront, ridicule, elude, flout, ignore, oppose, disregard, provoke, mock, repulse, despise, brave, insult, slight, face

Examples from the Web for defy

Contemporary Examples of defy

Historical Examples of defy

British Dictionary definitions for defy


verb -fies, -fying or -fied (tr)
  1. to resist (a powerful person, authority, etc) openly and boldly
  2. to elude, esp in a baffling wayhis actions defy explanation
  3. formal to challenge or provoke (someone to do something judged to be impossible); dareI defy you to climb that cliff
  4. archaic to invite to do battle or combat
Show More
Derived Formsdefier, noun

Word Origin for defy

C14: from Old French desfier, from des- de- + fier to trust, from Latin fīdere
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 defy


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).

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper