Definition of defy verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

     

    defy

     verb
    verb
    BrE BrE//dɪˈfaɪ//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//dɪˈfaɪ//
     
    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they defy
    BrE BrE//dɪˈfaɪ//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//dɪˈfaɪ//
     
    he / she / it defies
    BrE BrE//dɪˈfaɪz//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//dɪˈfaɪz//
     
    past simple defied
    BrE BrE//dɪˈfaɪd//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//dɪˈfaɪd//
     
    past participle defied
    BrE BrE//dɪˈfaɪd//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//dɪˈfaɪd//
     
    -ing form defying
    BrE BrE//dɪˈfaɪɪŋ//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//dɪˈfaɪɪŋ//
     
     
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  1. 1defy somebody/something to refuse to obey or show respect for somebody in authority, a law, a rule, etc. I wouldn't have dared to defy my teachers. Hundreds of people today defied the ban on political gatherings.
  2. 2defy belief, explanation, description, etc. to be impossible or almost impossible to believe, explain, describe, etc. a political move that defies explanation The beauty of the scene defies description.
  3. 3defy something to successfully resist something to a very unusual degree The baby boy defied all the odds and survived (= stayed alive when it seemed certain that he would die).
  4. Word Familydefy verbdefiance noundefiant adjective Word Origin Middle English (in the senses ‘renounce an allegiance’ and ‘challenge to combat’): from Old French desfier, based on Latin dis- (expressing reversal) + fidus ‘faithful’.Extra examples He is willing to defy his own party. Journalists were openly defying the authorities. The protesters continued to defy a court injunction. I wouldn’t have dared to defy my teachers.Idioms
    I defy you/anyone to do something
     
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    used to say that somebody should try to do something, as a way of emphasizing that you think it is impossible to do it I defy anyone not to cry at the end of the film. I defy you to leave without buying something.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: defy