Last modified on 8 February 2014, at 19:43
From Middle English withseien, from Old English wiþsecgan (“to speak against; to denounce, renounce, or deny”), corresponding to with- + say. Cognate with German widersagen (“to renounce”).
withsay (third-person singular simple present withsays, present participle withsaying, simple past and past participle withsaid)
- (transitive) To speak against someone or something, that is:
- (rare) To renounce, to give up
- To contradict or deny
- c. 1225, Ancrene Riwle (Cleopatra C vi), 68
- Ȝef an mon...deð swa muche mis. þet hit beo se open sunne. þet he hit ne maȝe nanesweis allunge wið seggen.
- c. 1445 in WP Baildon, Select cases in Chancery, A.D. 1364 to 1471 (1896), 136
- He withseieth not the matier conteigned in the seid bille of complainte.
- 1530, J. Palsgrave, Lesclarcissement, 783/2
- Sythe I have sayd it, I wyll never withsay it.
- To gainsay, to oppose in speech (and by extension writing)
- c. 1200, Trinity College Homilies, 139
- Bi þo daȝes luuede herodes...his broðer wif, and binam hire him, and Seint Iohan hit wið seide.
- 1922, James Joyce, Ulysses
- Let the lewd with faith and fervour worship. With will will we withstand, withsay.
- To forbid, to refuse to allow, give, or permit
- c. 1450, Merlin (1899), XIV 204
- I will in no wise with-sey that ye requere.
- c. 1530, St. German's Dyaloge Doctoure & Student, VI f xiii
- I wyll not withsaye thy desyre.
- To decline, to refuse to do or accept
- c. 1225, Ancrene Riwle (Cleopatra C vi), 175
- Þeo...wið seggeð þe grant þer of wið an wille heorte.
- 1402, T. Hoccleve, Letters of Cupid, 108
- She...So lyberal ys, she wol no wyght with-sey.
- 1485, Thomas Malory, Le Morte Darthur, XIII
- ‘Sir,’ he seyde, ‘I myght nat withsey myne unclis wyll.’
- c. 1670, ordinance in Collection of Ordinances of the Royal Household · 1327–1694 (1790), 372
- This is in noe wise to bee withsaid, for it is the King's honour.
- 2000, James Farl Powers, Morte D'Urban
- He was mild to good men of God and stark beyond all bounds to those who withsaid his will.