- 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 defying
Residents of Rome even called for his resignation for defying city ordinances.The Mayor Who Took Down the Mafia That Ruined Rome
Barbie Latza Nadeau
December 6, 2014
Defying instructions would have been unthinkable during the tenure of his father or grandfather.Has North Korea’s Kim Jong Un Been Toppled?
Gordon G. Chang
October 6, 2014
Then, defying all logic, it somehow blossomed into an amazing, fruitful romance.'You're the Worst': TV's Best Couple Is Awful and Perfect for Each Other
August 21, 2014
The rebels, defying airstrikes, are opening a corridor for reinforcements from Mother Russia.The Sky Explodes Over Luhansk, and Kiev Blames the Separatists
June 4, 2014
To a large degree, Tesla and its stock seem to be defying natural forces of gravity.Tesla Wins Even When It’s Losing
November 11, 2013
We would never have dreamed of defying the registrar, would we, Emma?Grace Harlowe's Return to Overton Campus
Jessie Graham Flower
And he shook his puny fist at the blue vault of heaven—Ajax defying Jupiter.Scaramouche
The fire seemed to spread, defying all the efforts of the engines.The Knight Of Gwynne, Vol. II (of II)
Charles James Lever
On reflection, the Major could not blame Harry for defying him by the Pool.Tristram of Blent
It's a ranch—with an old man on it—with a gun, defying all comers.David Lannarck, Midget
George S. Harney
- 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 defying
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).