defy Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo

Meaning of “defy” in the English Dictionary

"defy" in British English

See all translations

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.

expend iconexpend iconMore examples

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

"defy" in American English

See all translations

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)
What is the pronunciation of defy?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

“defy” in American English

Word of the Day

parade

a large number of people walking or in vehicles, all going in the same direction, usually as part of a public celebration of something

Word of the Day

I used to work hard/I’m used to working hard (Phrases with ‘used to’)
I used to work hard/I’m used to working hard (Phrases with ‘used to’)
by Kate Woodford,
February 10, 2016
On this blog, we like to look at words and phrases in the English language that learners often have difficulty with. Two phrases that can be confused are ‘used to do something’ and ‘be used to something/doing something’. People often use one phrase when they mean the other, or they use the wrong

Read More 

farecasting noun
farecasting noun
February 08, 2016
predicting the optimum date to buy a plane ticket, especially on a website or using an app A handful of new and updated websites and apps are trying to perfect the art of what’s known as farecasting – predicting the best date to buy a ticket.

Read More