• synonyms


[geyn-sey, geyn-sey]
verb (used with object), gain·said, gain·say·ing.
  1. to deny, dispute, or contradict.
  2. to speak or act against; oppose.
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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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for gainsaid

contravene, traverse, impugn, combat, disclaim, repudiate, refute, disagree, deny, fight, resist, controvert, oppose, negative, disprove, negate, cross, withstand, dispute, disaffirm

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
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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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper