Definition of nay in English:


Syllabification: nay


1Or rather; and more than that (used to emphasize a more appropriate word than one just used): it will take months, nay years
More example sentences
  • Yes, I know it's rather stilted, nay overwrought, prose.
  • After all, do they think that we have forgotten that for months - nay, years - they have time and again denied being on the Army Council?
  • The events of the last few weeks - nay the last 18 months - have led me to ask some questions.
2 archaic or dialect No: nay, I must not think thus
More example sentences
  • Nay nay, they wrote him off in the '80s as a dinosaur, but he's back big time.


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A negative answer or vote: the cabinet sits to give the final yea or nay to policies
More example sentences
  • By a roll call vote of 12 yeas to 19 nays, the amendment was defeated.
  • He then announced with solemn formality, ‘On this vote, there are 65 yeas and 32 nays.’
  • As I say, regardless of what was contained in the Revised Criminal Code, as usual, the yeas would easily outnumber the nays at the end of the day.


Middle English (sense 2 of the adverb): from Old Norse nei, from ne 'not' + ei 'ever' (compare with aye2).

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Word of the day retroflex
Pronunciation: ˈrɛtrə(ʊ)flɛks
turned backwards