Part of speech:
(Like “eat,” “try,” and “want,” all transitive verbs do something to an object.
You eat a banana, try a game, and want a new phone.
Likewise, you gainsay something or gainsay someone.)
To gainsay something is to say you disagree with it or say that it's wrong.
You can gainsay people, too: say they're wrong, or say you disagree with them.
You might wonder, "Why doesn't 'gainsay' have anything to do with gaining something?" Well, the "gain" part of the word is related to the word "against." When you gainsay something, you speak against it.
gainsaying, gainsaid, gainsayer(s)
How to use it:
Talk about gainsaying a person; gainsaying a statement; gainsaying a fact; gainsaying the evidence or the research; gainsaying a choice or decision; gainsaying an action or reaction or response; gainsaying an idea, a process, a value, a talent or skill, a feeling, and so on.
We often use this word in a negative sense to emphasize that something is so true, so persuasive, or so accepted that "it can't be gainsaid," "it's impossible to gainsay," "no one can gainsay it," etc.
You can certainly criticize Lady Gaga for her strange dress and behavior, but you can't gainsay her popularity or the uplifting effect of her music.
Research has convincingly gainsaid the idea that children should be taught according to their preferred learning styles, but the tradition lives on in classrooms anyway.
Look away from the screen to explain the definition in your own words. You'll know you understand what "gainsay" means when you can explain it without saying "dispute" or "speak out against."
Think of a time when you knew someone was wrong, but you didn't correct that person, and fill in the blanks: "Out of (politeness/respect/a desire to avoid an argument, etc.), I didn't gainsay (Person) when (he/she) said _____.”
Example: "Out of a desire to be neighborly, the neuropsychologist didn't gainsay his chatty elevator companion when he said that baby walkers were known to harm the infants' development."
Spend at least 20 seconds occupying your mind with the game and quote below. Then try the review questions. Don't go straight to the review now; let your working memory empty out first.
Playing With Words:
This month's game is "Guess the real pop song title when I give you a long-winded, highfalutin version of it." All the answers this month will be titles of popular songs released no earlier than 2012. Try it out each day and see the right answer the next day. We're playing this in order to appreciate the simple, precise vocabulary of pop song titles, despite how often they are criticized for being sappy, trite, and simplistic.
Yesterday’s answer: “Highly Valued, Difficult to Obtain, and Eminently Beautiful Rocks” is really “Diamonds” by Rihanna.
Try this last one today: “Fashion and Manner Characteristic of a Trendy and Wealthy South Korean Area”
A Point Well Made:
Anne Lamott: “…time is tearing past us like giddy greyhounds.”
1. The opposite of GAINSAY is
2. There was no point in gainsaying the _____.
A. machine whose broken parts were way past repair.
B. child determined to do things her own way.
C. tornado as it picked up speed.
Answers are below.
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Make Your Point is crafted with love and brought to you each day for free by Mrs. Liesl Johnson, M.Ed., a word lover, learning enthusiast, and private tutor of reading and writing in the verdant little town of Hilo, Hawaii. For writing tips, online learning, essay guidance, and more, please visit www.HiloTutor.com.
Disclaimer: Word meanings presented here are expressed in plain language and are limited to common, useful applications only. Readers interested in authoritative and multiple definitions of words are encouraged to check a dictionary. Likewise, word meanings, usage, and pronunciations are limited to American English; these elements may vary across world Englishes.
Answers to review questions:
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