Thursday, June 28, 2007


GAINSAY: 1: to declare to be untrue or invalid 2: to contradict, oppose

Figuring out the parentage of "gainsay" can be troublesome if you think of our modern "gain" plus "say." It might help to know that the "gain-" part is actually related to "against," which was the meaning of the Old English gean -. From that element came the Middle English gain -, which was joined with sayen ("to say") to form gainsayen, the Middle English version of "gainsay." So when you see "gainsay," think "say against" - that is "deny" or "contradict."

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