[ geyn-sey, geyn-sey ]
/ ˈgeɪnˌseɪ, geɪnˈseɪ /

verb (used with object), gain·said, gain·say·ing.

to deny, dispute, or contradict.
to speak or act against; oppose.

Nearby words

  1. gaingiving,
  2. gainings,
  3. gainless,
  4. gainly,
  5. gains,
  6. gainsborough,
  7. gainsborough, thomas,
  8. gainst,
  9. gaiseric,
  10. gait

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. 2019

Examples from the Web for gainsay

British Dictionary definitions for gainsay


/ (ɡeɪnˈseɪ) /

verb -says, -saying or -said

(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 gainsay



"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