Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
From Middle English gainsayen, ȝeinseggen (“to say against, say in opposition to”), equivalent to gain- + say. Compare Old Danish gensige (“to speak against; gainsay”), Swedish gensaga (“a speaking against; protest”).
- Rhymes: -eɪ
- To contradict; to withsay; to deny, refute; to controvert; to dispute; to forbid.
1840, Abel Upshur, A Brief Enquiry into the Nature and Character of our Federal Government, Campbell, page 84:
- The supreme court, therefore, may assume jurisdiction over subjects and between parties, not allowed by the constitution, and there is no power in the federal government to gainsay it.
- 1902, Arthur Conan Doyle, The Hound of the Baskervilles:
- Know then that in the time of the Great Rebellion (the history of which by the learned Lord Clarendon I most earnestly commend to your attention) this Manor of Baskerville was held by Hugo of that name, nor can it be gainsaid that he was a most wild, profane, and godless man.
2012 July 7, “Griffith acted, and lived, by Golden Rule”, The Post and Courier, Charleston: Evening Post Publishing, page 5, Features:
- And there was something childlike about Griffith, too, even in his Matlock days, as a deceptively sharp 'simple country lawyer,' a big-kid boyishness that did not mask his intelligence or gainsay his authority.
to deny; to contradict