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Borrowing 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).



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

  1. (transitive) To not allow.
    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.
    • 2011 November 1, James Robinson and 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. (transitive) To disallow
  4. (transitive) to refuse to give or grant something to someone
    My father denied me a good education.
    • J. Edwards
      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".
  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.
    • Bancroft
      the falsehood of denying his opinion
    • Keble
      thou thrice denied, yet thrice beloved
  7. (obsolete) To refuse (to do or accept something).
    • Shakespeare
      if you deny to dance

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