• 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 gainsaying

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 gainsaying

Historical Examples of gainsaying

  • But there was no gainsaying, even in his confused condition, Music Mountain.

    Nan of Music Mountain

    Frank H. Spearman

  • Mrs. Middleton was sentimental—there was no gainsaying that; she was rather gushing.

  • But if 'tis duty, my lad, England expec's and I'm not gainsaying.

    The Adventures of Harry Revel

    Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch

  • I'm writing a good sound science book, which there's no gainsaying.

  • There's no gainsaying it, they'll all pass out of our hands.

British Dictionary definitions for gainsaying


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 gainsaying



"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