Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1300-1400
Language: Old French
Origin: defier, from Latin fidere 'to trust'

defy

verb
     
de‧fy past tense and past participle defied, present participle defying, third person singular defies [transitive]
1 to refuse to obey a law or rule, or refuse to do what someone in authority tells you to do [↪ defiance]:
people who openly defy the law
2

defy description/analysis/belief etc

to be almost impossible to describe or understand:
The beauty of the scene defies description.
3

defy logic/the odds etc

to not happen according to the principles you would expect:
a 16-week premature baby who defied the odds and survived
4

I defy somebody to do something

spoken formal used when you ask someone to do something that you think is impossible:
I defy anyone to prove otherwise.

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