[ verb dih-fahy; noun dih-fahy, dee-fahy ]
/ verb dɪˈfaɪ; noun dɪˈfaɪ, ˈdi faɪ /
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verb (used with object), de·fied, de·fy·ing.
to challenge the power of; resist boldly or openly: to defy parental authority.
to offer effective resistance to: a fort that defies attack.
to challenge (a person) to do something deemed impossible: They defied him to dive off the bridge.
Archaic. to challenge to a combat or contest.
noun, plural de·fies.
a challenge; a defiance.
OTHER WORDS FOR defy
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Origin of defy
1250–1300; Middle English defien<Old French desfier, equivalent to des-dis-1 + fier to trust <Vulgar Latin *fīdāre, variant of Latin fīdere
OTHER WORDS FROM defy
de·fi·a·ble, adjectivede·fy·ing·ly, adverbpre·de·fy, verb (used with object), pre·de·fied, pre·de·fy·ing.re·de·fy, verb (used with object), re·de·fied, re·de·fy·ing.
un·de·fi·a·ble, adjectiveun·de·fi·a·bly, adverbun·de·fied, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
British Dictionary definitions for defy
/ (dɪˈfaɪ) /
verb -fies, -fying or -fied (tr)
to resist (a powerful person, authority, etc) openly and boldly
to elude, esp in a baffling wayhis actions defy explanation
formal to challenge or provoke (someone to do something judged to be impossible); dareI defy you to climb that cliff
archaic to invite to do battle or combat
Derived forms of defydefier, noun
Word Origin for defy
C14: from Old French desfier, from des- de- + fier to trust, from Latin fīdere
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