Last modified on 13 October 2014, at 10:31
See also: NAY, này, näy, nạy, and ŋay



From Middle English nai, nei, from Old Norse nei (no), contraction of ne (not) + ei (ever). More at no.



nay (not comparable)

  1. (archaic) no

Derived termsEdit



  1. or even, or more like, or should I say. Introduces a stronger and more appropriate expression than the preceding one.
    • His face was dirty, nay filthy.
    • 1663, Hudibras, by Samuel Butler, part 1, canto 2
      [...] And proved not only horse, but cows, / Nay pigs, were of the elder house: / For beasts, when man was but a piece / Of earth himself, did th' earth possess.
    • 1748. David Hume. Enquiries concerning the human understanding and concerning the principles of moral. London: Oxford University Press, 1973. § 18.
      And even in our wildest and most wandering reveries, nay in our very dreams, we shall find, if we reflect, that the imagination ran not altogether at adventures,


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nay (plural nays)

  1. A vote against.
    I vote nay, even though the motion is popular, because I would rather be right than popular.
  2. A person who voted against.
    The vote is 4 in favor and 20 opposed, the nays have it.


nay (third-person singular simple present nays, present participle naying, simple past and past participle nayed)

  1. (obsolete) To refuse.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Holinshed to this entry?)


  1. nary