Share this entry

deny Syllabification: de·ny
Pronunciation: /dəˈnī/

Definition of deny in English:

verb (denies, denying, denied)

[with object]
1State that one refuses to admit the truth or existence of: they deny any responsibility for the tragedy
More example sentences
  • It is denied that the Defendant repudiated the alleged or any contract as alleged or at all.
  • Rumours that he had been suspended swept across the centre two weeks ago, but the shopping centre's management company refused to admit or deny the claims.
  • A federal prosecutor has denied that contention.
contradict, controvert, repudiate, challenge, counter, contest, oppose, rebut
informal poke holes in
formal gainsay
1.1Refuse to admit the truth of (a concept or proposition that is supported by the majority of scientific or historical evidence): an anti-environmentalist campaign group that denies climate change
More example sentences
  • Ethiopia faces devastating famine, millions in other parts of the world have no drinking water and global warming is forgotten or denied.
  • Only four years ago it was considered completely mainstream, centrist thinking to oppose stem cell research, reject nuclear proliferation schemes, and deny global warming.
  • Some people deny the holocaust, others assert it happened as a matter of undeniable fact.
2 [with two objects] Refuse to give or grant (something requested or desired) to (someone): the inquiry was denied access to intelligence sources
More example sentences
  • O'Neill was denied that unexpected luxury by circumstances outwith his control.
  • He said: ‘There are a number of people who would love to rent private or council property and they are being denied that right.’
  • In summary, specialty toy stores cannot compete on prices, so they will agree to deny the product to their discount rivals.
refuse, turn down, reject, rebuff, repulse, decline, veto, dismiss
informal give the thumbs down to, give the red light to, nix
2.1 (deny oneself) Refrain from satisfying oneself: he had denied himself sexually for years
More example sentences
  • As you might imagine, they've shown remarkable restraint in that regard, refusing to deny themselves a raise for five straight years.
  • It's a decision to deny ourselves the thoughts, desires, and actions that feed the old life within us.
  • We're the ones who are denying ourselves health care coverage by refusing to pay taxes.
2.2 archaic Refuse access to (someone): the servants are ordered to deny him


Middle English: from Old French deni-, stressed stem of deneier, from Latin denegare, from de- 'formally' + negare 'say no'.

  • negative from Late Middle English:

    Negative comes from Latin negare ‘to deny’, a Middle English word from the same source. The photographic negative dates from the mid 19th century.

Words that rhyme with deny

ally, Altai, apply, assai, awry, ay, aye, Baha'i, belie, bi, Bligh, buy, by, bye, bye-bye, chi, Chiangmai, Ciskei, comply, cry, Cy, Dai, defy, Di, die, do-or-die, dry, Dubai, dye, espy, eye, fie, fly, forbye, fry, Frye, goodbye (US goodby), guy, hereby, hi, hie, high, I, imply, I-spy, July, kai, lie, lye, Mackay, misapply, my, nearby, nigh, Nye, outfly, passer-by, phi, pi, pie, ply, pry, psi, Qinghai, rai, rely, rocaille, rye, scry, serai, shanghai, shy, sigh, sky, Skye, sky-high, sly, spin-dry, spry, spy, sty, Sukhotai, supply, Tai, Thai, thereby, thigh, thy, tie, Transkei, try, tumble-dry, underlie, Versailles, Vi, vie, whereby, why, wry, Wye, xi, Xingtai, Yantai

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day exemplum
Pronunciation: iɡˈzempləm
an example or model...