Meaning of “deny” in the English Dictionary

"deny" in British English

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denyverb [ T ]

uk /dɪˈnaɪ/ us /dɪˈnaɪ/

deny verb [ T ] (NOT TRUE)

B2 to say that something is not true:

He will not confirm or deny the allegations.
[ + that ] Neil denies that he broke the window, but I'm sure he did.
[ + -ing verb ] Neil denies breaking the window.
there's no denying

it is true:

There's no denying that this has been a difficult year for the company.

More examples

  • He said the police assaulted him while he was in custody, a claim which the police deny.
  • The president has consistently denied the rumours.
  • A close associate of the author denied reports that she had cancer.
  • She has always stridently denied the accusations against her.
  • The ambassador denied that any missiles had been fired across the border.

deny verb [ T ] (REFUSE)

B2 to not allow someone to have or do something:

Her request for time off work was denied.
No one should be denied a good education./A good education should be denied to no one.
[ + two objects ] The goalkeeper denied him his third goal.
I was denied the opportunity of learning French at school.

More examples

  • While priests were denied the right to marry and procreate, he said, their situation would remain impossible.
  • Freedom of speech and freedom of thought were both denied under the dictatorship.
  • All I'd cherished from early childhood had been denied me, so I simply gave up the ghost.
  • Can the right to live ever be denied to any human?
  • He complained that he had been denied his conjugal rights.

deny verb [ T ] (NOT ADMIT)

to not admit that you have knowledge, responsibility, feelings, etc.:

He denied all responsibility for the rumours which have been circulating.
Even under torture, he refused to deny his beliefs/faith.
deny yourself

to not allow yourself to have or do things:

Many parents deny themselves so that their children can have the best.

formal to refuse to admit that you have any connection with something or someone:

She has denied her family and refuses to have any contact with them.

More examples

  • She knew that Dave wasn't the right man for her but she couldn't deny that there was an attraction between them.
  • She denied any personal enmity towards him.
  • The company consistently denied responsibility, but it agreed to the settlement to avoid a long and expensive legal case.
  • Alois denied any knowledge of the matter.
  • She has strenuously denied any criminal wrongdoing.

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

"deny" in American English

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denyverb [ T ]

us /dɪˈnɑɪ/

deny verb [ T ] (CLAIM TO BE NOT TRUE)

to say that something is not true:

The governor denied reports that he will resign.
[ + that clause ] She has denied that she plans to run for mayor.

deny verb [ T ] (REFUSE)

to refuse to permit or allow someone to do something:

She denied herself the things that would make her happy.

deny verb [ T ] (NOT ADMIT)

to fail to admit that you have knowledge, responsibility, or feelings:

He denied knowing about the plan.
deniable
adjective /dɪˈnɑɪ·ə·bəl/

(Definition of “deny” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

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