[geyn-sey, geyn-sey]

Origin of gainsay

First recorded in 1250–1300, gainsay is from the Middle English word gainsaien. See again, say1
Related formsgain·say·er, nounun·gain·said, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for gainsaid

Historical Examples of gainsaid

  • The general probability of his statements could not, unfortunately be gainsaid.

    The Grand Old Man

    Richard B. Cook

  • Its hardness, solidity, and actuality could not be gainsaid.

  • The authority in her voice and manner was not to be gainsaid.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • Mary's answer was given quietly, but, none the less, with an assurance that could not be gainsaid.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • Despised and contemned as they may be, I believe they cannot be gainsaid.

British Dictionary definitions for gainsaid


verb -says, -saying or -said
  1. (tr) archaic, or literary to deny (an allegation, a statement, etc); contradict
Derived Formsgainsayer, noun

Word Origin for gainsay

C13 gainsaien, from gain- against + saien to say 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 gainsaid



"contradict," c.1300, literally "say against," from Old English gegn- "against" (see again) + say (v.). "Solitary survival of a once common prefix" [Weekley], which was used to form such now-obsolete compounds as gain-taking "taking back again," gainclap "a counterstroke," gainbuy "redeem," and gainstand "to oppose." Related: Gainsaid; gainsaying.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper