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To deny is to say "no" or reject the possibility or existence of something.

  • Jim denies taking money from the cash register. (Jim’s supervisor said he did it, but Jim says he didn’t do it.)
  • Kathryn denied a job offer because the salary wasn’t high enough.
  • The bank denied our application for a mortgage.
  • To deny a person a job because of gender or ethnicity is illegal in the United States.
  • Richard denies the existence of global warming. He refuses to even consider the possibility of it.

"Deny" is a verb that is often used in the passive voice:

  • Sarah’s application for a loan from the bank was denied.
  • The young man was denied parole from prison because of his behavior.
  • Abdi was denied the opportunity to get a good education when he was young because a civil war broke out in his country.
  • The allegation of murder was denied by the suspect.

The noun form of "deny" is "denial."

  • Martha is in denial after the cancer diagnosis. (She refuses to believe the doctor’s diagnosis is correct.)
  • The denial of the existence of global climate change is a dangerous phenomenon among people in industrialized countries–especially in the United States.

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First published on December 6, 2012



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