Origin of denial

First recorded in 1520–30; deny + -al2
Related formsnon·de·ni·al, nounpre·de·ni·al, adjectivere·de·ni·al, noun

Synonyms for denial

Antonyms for denial Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for denial

Contemporary Examples of denial

Historical Examples of denial

  • He bent closer to his companion, and spoke with a fierce intensity that brooked no denial.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • Burke shook his head emphatically in denial of the allegation.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • Napoleon looked at his uncle the canon with indignation and denial on his face.

  • I can't say whether she considered him an answer to her prayer, or a denial of it.

    It Happened in Egypt

    C. N. Williamson

  • An excuse, instead of a denial, was the gentlest answer I received.

British Dictionary definitions for denial



a refusal to agree or comply with a statement; contradiction
the rejection of the truth of a proposition, doctrine, etca denial of God's existence
a negative reply; rejection of a request
a refusal to acknowledge; renunciation; disavowala denial of one's leader
a psychological process by which painful truths are not admitted into an individual's consciousnessSee also defence mechanism
abstinence; self-denial
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 denial

1520s; see deny + -al (2). Replaced earlier denyance (mid-15c.). Meaning "unconscious suppression of painful or embarrassing feelings" first attested 1914 in A.A. Brill's translation of Freud's "Psychopathology of Everyday Life"; phrase in denial popularized 1980s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

denial in Medicine




An unconscious defense mechanism characterized by refusal to acknowledge painful realities, thoughts, or feelings.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.