- 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 for defy on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for defy
Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of al Qaeda, specifically called on French Muslims to defy the ban.Abu Dhabi Stabbing: Why Law Enforcement Hates The Niqab & Burqa
December 3, 2014
The Simpsons really does defy all expectations in terms of the normal lifespan.Harry Shearer on Being Nixon, ‘The Simpsons Movie’ Sequel, and Why Obama Should Return His Nobel
October 21, 2014
The political implications are clear—but the battle lines about to form are likely to defy party lines.The People Vs. the Bank of Walmart
October 1, 2014
The man who once seemed to defy death entirely has held onto his reputation and accolades long after succumbing to his mortality.Get a Piece of Houdini Before He Disappears
August 22, 2014
Saying so is to make a statement so obvious as to defy the need for citation.Palestinian Kids’ PTSD Could Last Generations
August 18, 2014
"I defy you to be so good or so bad as your word, doctor," said Hervey.Tales And Novels, Volume 3 (of 10)
In the arrogance of his heart he said, "I can defy the future."Alice, or The Mysteries, Complete
Did the Government intend to allow this man to defy the law?The Hunted Outlaw
There he must build a strong fortress and there defy his enemies.Welsh Fairy Tales
William Elliott Griffis
But then I must be his, at all adventures, and be thought to defy my own family.Clarissa, Volume 3 (of 9)
- 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 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).