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From Middle English withseien, from Old English wiþseċġan (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), Dutch wederzeggen and weerzeggen.


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

  1. (archaic or obsolete, transitive) To speak against someone or something.
    1. To contradict or deny.
    2. To gainsay, to oppose in speech (and by extension writing).
      • 1922, James Joyce, Ulysses:
        Let the lewd with faith and fervour worship. With will will we withstand, withsay.
    3. To forbid, to refuse to allow, give, or permit.
      • c. 1530, St. German's Dyaloge Doctoure & Student, VI f xiii:
        I wyll not withsaye thy desyre.
    4. To decline, to refuse to do or accept.
      • c. 1670, ordinance in Collection of Ordinances of the Royal Household - 1327–1694 (1790), 372:
        This is in noe wise to bee withsaid, for it is the King's honour.
      • 1900 (original version 1260), Jacobus (de Voragine), ‎William Caxton, ‎Frederick Startridge Ellis, The Golden Legend, Or, Lives of the Saints - Volume 4:
        I sent to them also martyrs, confessors, and doctors, and they accorded not to them, ne to their doctrine, but because it appertaineth not to me to withsay thy request, I shall give to them my preachers, by whom they may be enlumined and made clean, or else I shall come against them myself if they will not amend them.
      • 2000, James Farl Powers, Morte D'Urban:
        He was mild to good men of God and stark beyond all bounds to those who withsaid his will.


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