English edit

Etymology edit

From Middle English denyen, from Old French denoier (to deny, to repudiate) (French dénier), from Latin denegare (to deny, to refuse), from de- (away) and negare (to refuse), the latter ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *ne (no, not). Doublet of denegate.

Pronunciation edit

Verb edit

deny (third-person singular simple present denies, present participle denying, simple past and past participle denied)

  1. (transitive) To disallow or reject.
    Antonym: grant
    I wanted to go to the party, but I was denied.
    • 1847, Anne Brontë, chapter XVI, in Agnes Grey:
      'Do! pray do! I shall be the most miserable of men if you don't. You cannot be so cruel as to deny me a favour so easily granted and yet so highly prized!' pleaded he as ardently as if his life depended on it.
  2. (transitive) To assert that something is not true.
    I deny that I was at the party.
    Everyone knows he committed the crime, but he still denies it.
    • 1604, Jeremy Corderoy, A Short Dialogve, wherein is Proved, that No Man can be Saved without Good VVorkes, 2nd edition, Oxford: Printed by Ioseph Barnes, and are to be sold in Paules Church-yard at the signe of the Crowne, by Simon Waterson, →OCLC, page 40:
      [N]ow ſuch a liue vngodly, vvithout a care of doing the wil of the Lord (though they profeſſe him in their mouths, yea though they beleeue and acknowledge all the Articles of the Creed, yea haue knowledge of the Scripturs) yet if they liue vngodly, they deny God, and therefore ſhal be denied, []
    • 2011 November 1, James Robinson, Lisa O'Carroll, “Phone hacking: NoW warned about 'culture of illegal information access'”, in The Guardian[1]:
      But Myler and Crone told the committee in September that they had made Murdoch aware at the 10 June 2008 meeting that hacking was not restricted to a single journalist. They claimed this was the reason Murdoch agreed to settle the Taylor's case. James Murdoch subsequently wrote to the committee to deny this.
  3. (ditransitive) To refuse to give or grant something to someone.
    Antonym: grant
    My father denied me a good education.
    • 1754, Jonathan Edwards, An Inquiry into the Modern Prevailing Notions Respecting that Freedom of the Will which is supposed to be Essential to Moral Agency:
      To some men, it is more agreeable to deny a vicious inclination, than to gratify it.
    • 2008 April 12, “Mother denied daughter's organs”, in BBC[2]:
      A mother who urgently needs a kidney transplant has branded the system which denied her the organs of her dying daughter as "ridiculous".
  4. To take something away from someone; to deprive of.
  5. (sports, transitive) To prevent from scoring.
    • 2011 November 3, Chris Bevan, “Rubin Kazan 1 - 0 Tottenham”, in BBC Sport[3]:
      Another Karadeniz cross led to Cudicini's first save of the night, with the Spurs keeper making up for a weak punch by brilliantly pushing away Christian Noboa's snap-shot.
      Two more top-class stops followed quickly afterwards, first from Natcho's rasping shot which was heading into the top corner, and then to deny Ryazantsev at his near post.
  6. To disclaim connection with, responsibility for, etc.; to refuse to acknowledge; to disown; to abjure; to disavow.
    • 1834–1874, George Bancroft, History of the United States, from the Discovery of the American Continent, volume (please specify |volume=I to X), Boston, Mass.: Little, Brown and Company [et al.], →OCLC:
      the falsehood of denying his opinion
    • 1827, John Keble, The Christian Year:
      thou thrice denied, yet thrice beloved
  7. (obsolete) To refuse (to do or accept something).

Usage notes edit

  • This is a catenative verb that takes the gerund (-ing). See Appendix:English catenative verbs.
  • Deny can have a connotation that the denial is false; he denied knowing the accused has a more suspicious tone than he said he did not know the accused. However, in some formal usages, e.g. medical records, it can have a more neutral sense (patient denies chest pain).
  • Although common, it is incorrect to use this word with the preposition of. Instead of denied of, the preferred expressions are deprive of or simply deny. [4]

Conjugation edit

Synonyms edit

Antonyms edit

  • (antonym(s) of disallow): allow
  • (antonym(s) of assert something is true): confirm, affirm

Derived terms edit

Related terms edit

Translations edit

Anagrams edit

Middle English edit

Verb edit


  1. Alternative form of denyen