An example of to defy is to break a law by going on land that is posted with a no trespassing sign.
- to resist or oppose boldly or openly
- to resist completely in a baffling way: the puzzle defied solution
- to dare (someone) to do or prove something
- Archaic to challenge (someone) to fight
Origin of defyMiddle English defien ; from Old French defier, to distrust, repudiate, defy ; from Late Latin an unverified form disfidare ; from dis-, from + an unverified form fidare, to trust ; from fidus, faithful: see faith
transitive verbde·fied, de·fy·ing, de·fies
- a. To oppose or resist with boldness and assurance: defied the blockade by sailing straight through it.b. To refuse to submit to or cooperate with: defied the court order by leaving the country.
- To be beyond the application or scope of; be contrary or resistant to: an act that defies explanation; a problem that defies any conventional approach.
- To challenge or dare (someone) to do something: She defied her accusers to prove their charges.
Origin of defyMiddle English defien, from Old French desfier, from Vulgar Latin *disfīdāre : Latin dis-, dis- + Latin fīdus, faithful; see bheidh- in Indo-European roots.
- (obsolete) A challenge.
(third-person singular simple present defies, present participle defying, simple past and past participle defied)
- To renounce or dissolve all bonds of affiance, faith, or obligation with; to reject, refuse, or renounce.
- To challenge (someone) to do something difficult.
- to defy an enemy; to defy the power of a magistrate; to defy the arguments of an opponent; to defy public opinion
- To refuse to obey.
- If you defy your teacher you will get the strap.
- To not conform to or follow a pattern or certain set of rules.
From Old French desfier, from Vulgar Latin *disfidare (“renounce one's faith”), from Latin dis- (“away”) + fidus (“faithful”). Meaning shifted 14c. from "be disloyal" to "challenge."