American English

Definition of defy verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they defy
    he / she / it defies
    past simple defied
    -ing form defying
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  1. 1defy somebody/something to refuse to obey or show respect for someone 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 adjectivedefy verbdefiance noundefiant adjectiveIdioms
    I defy you/anyone to do something
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    used to say that someone 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 movie. I defy you to leave without buying something.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: defy