defy Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary
Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

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.
More 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
Word of the Day

forage

to go from place to place searching, especially for food

Word of the Day

Meerkat meme
Meerkat meme
by Colin McIntosh,
September 03, 2015
Meerkats are not new to popular culture (they appear in the folk tales of the San people of the Kalahari), but their arrival in the public’s consciousness, at least in the UK and the US, is a relatively recent phenomenon. Meerkats are small, sociable Southern African mammals that live in large family

Read More 

parklet noun
parklet noun
August 31, 2015
a public outdoor space that may be associated with a local business but where anyone can sit Pop-up cafes in NY are what’s actually called parklets in many other places around the country.

Read More