Part of speech: verb
Origin: Middle English, 14th century
(formal) Deny or contradict (a fact or statement)
Speak against or oppose (someone)
Examples of Gainsay in a sentence
"It’s hard to gainsay the importance of U.S. blues musicians to 1960s British rock ‘n’ roll."
"The prosecution’s clear evidence gainsays the defendant’s version of the events."
Popularity Over Time
In Old English, the terms “gęgn-“ and “géan” both implied reversal or opposition. Adding “gain-” as a prefix to “say” implied “to say in opposition.” This meaning of “gain” is also recognizable in the word “against.”
Did you Know?
The Oxford English Dictionary describes “gainsay” as “now a purely literary word,” but the term appears frequently enough to be familiar. Its most common form is expressed in the negative as a confirmation of unarguable opinion. For example, an argument “cannot be gainsaid,” or “no one may gainsay” a well-supported opinion. In both cases, the inability to gainsay is confirmation of truth.