defy Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo

Meaning of “defy” in the English Dictionary

"defy" in British English

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defyverb [T]

uk   us   /dɪˈfaɪ/
C2 to ​refuse to ​obey a ​person, ​decision, ​law, ​situation, etc.: It is ​rare to ​seechildrenopenly defying ​theirteachers. A few ​workers have defied the ​majoritydecision and gone into ​workdespite the ​strike. The ​fact that ​aircraft don't ​fall out of the ​sky always ​seems to me to defy (= ​act against) the law of ​gravity. A ​forestfireraging in ​southern California is defying (= is not ​changed by) all ​attempts to ​control it.defy belief/description/explanation C2 to be ​extreme or very ​strange and ​thereforeimpossible to ​believe, ​describe, or ​explain: The ​chaos at the ​airport defies ​description.defy sb to do sth to ​tell someone to do something that you ​think will be ​impossible: I defy you to ​proveyouraccusations. I defy you to ​tell where I've ​painted over the ​scratch on my ​car.

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(Definition of defy from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"defy" in American English

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defyverb [T]

 us   /dɪˈfɑɪ/
to ​refuse to ​obey or to do something in the ​usual or ​expected way: They defied an ​evacuationorder and ​stayed in ​town during the ​hurricane. He defied the ​odds (= did what no one ​expected) and ​won the ​race for ​mayor.
defiant
adjective  us   /dɪˈfɑɪ·ənt/
She is defiant, ​angry, and ​tough.
defiantly
adverb  us   /dɪˈfɑɪ·ənt·li/
When I said she might ​fail, she ​replied defiantly, “No, I won’t!”
(Definition of defy from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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“defy” in American English

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