verb (used with object), de·fied, de·fy·ing.

  1. to challenge the power of; resist boldly or openly: to defy parental authority.
  2. to offer effective resistance to: a fort that defies attack.
  3. to challenge (a person) to do something deemed impossible: They defied him to dive off the bridge.
  4. Archaic. to challenge to a combat or contest.

noun, plural de·fies.

  1. a challenge; a defiance.

verb -fies, -fying or -fied (tr)

  1. to resist (a powerful person, authority, etc) openly and boldly
  2. to elude, esp in a baffling wayhis actions defy explanation
  3. formal to challenge or provoke (someone to do something judged to be impossible); dareI defy you to climb that cliff
  4. archaic to invite to do battle or combat

v.c.1300, “to renounce one’s allegiance;” mid-14c., “to challenge, defy,” from Old French defier, desfier “to challenge, defy, provoke; renounce (a belief), repudiate (a vow, etc.),” from Vulgar Latin *disfidare “renounce one’s faith,” from Latin dis- “away” (see dis-) + fidus “faithful” (see faith).

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