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From Middle English withseien, from Old English wiþsecgan ‎(to speak against; to denounce, renounce, or deny), corresponding to with- +‎ say. Cognate with Old Saxon witharseggian ‎(to object), Low German wedderseggen ‎(to renounce), German widersagen ‎(to renounce).


withsay ‎(third-person singular simple present withsays, present participle withsaying, simple past and past participle withsaid)

  1. (heading, transitive) To speak against someone or something.
    1. (rare) To renounce, to give up.
    2. 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 W. P. 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, John Palsgrave, Lesclarcissement, 783/2:
        Sythe I have sayd it, I wyll never withsay it.
    3. To gainsay, to oppose in speech (and by extension writing).
    4. 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.
    5. To decline, to refuse to do or accept.

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