Meaning of nay in English:


Pronunciation /neɪ/

See synonyms for nay

Translate nay into Spanish


  • 1Or rather (used to emphasize a more appropriate word than one just used)

    ‘permission to build the superstore will take months, nay years’
    • ‘Yes, I know it's rather stilted, nay overwrought, prose.’
    • ‘After all, do they think that we have forgotten that for months - nay, years - they have time and again denied being on the Army Council?’
    • ‘The events of the last few weeks - nay the last 18 months - have led me to ask some questions.’
    • ‘It will be spent, nay squandered, on unnecessary digital radio stations.’
    • ‘As the site says: ‘This country, nay this planet, is going to the dogs.’’
    • ‘Which is partly why I and so many other Brits - nay, the rest of the world - shook our heads and rubbed our eyes in bewilderment when he got into the White House four years ago.’
    • ‘This means astonished, nay furious, taxpayers will see expensive full-time staff working adjacent to cheaper county sub contract workers.’
    • ‘What better chance to re-employ the hordes of laid-off middle-aged workers from State-owned companies and all for free, nay, even a substantial profit could result.’
    • ‘It is upsetting, nay distressing, to read that Leeds United Football Club may be forced into administration with debts totalling eighty-one million pounds.’
    • ‘For I believe that it is the right, nay, the duty of the music critic to contribute to the seemingly endless and certainly redundant lists of ‘Best and Worst’ music for the year.’
    • ‘By refusing to keep her emotional problems to herself and instead parading them in front of the nation, she implied - nay, screamed - that such behaviour was not merely permissible but required.’
    • ‘Never mind me, I don't suppose the kids in the next field, nay the next village, got a wink of sleep all weekend.’
    • ‘It is all told in his ornate, nay, bombastic prose.’
    • ‘My window is over the desk, and provides plenty of light and an ample, nay unparalleled, view of the neighbour's shambolic back yard and the train tracks in the mid-distance.’
    • ‘I'm willing to write to my local MP and MPP and join the picket line if necessary to make sure that this highly valuable nay essential service is maintained.’
    • ‘This is indicative of an official willingness - nay, an active eagerness - here in Ireland to embrace the change that is undoubtedly on the way in this entire area.’
    • ‘They have invited - nay, commanded - the public to evaluate his qualification for the presidency based on that.’
    • ‘Good teaching, nay great teaching, may yet be the salvation of the university in society in our day.’
    • ‘The fact is universal: the life stream of blood links all men and women, nay the entire human race, irrespective of colour, creed, culture and religion.’
    • ‘I was angered, nay, infuriated, by your review of the movie.’
    or rather, and more than that, indeed, and indeed, and even, in fact, in point of fact, actually, in truth
    View synonyms
  • 2British archaic, dialect No.

    ‘nay, I must not think thus’
    • ‘Nay nay, they wrote him off in the '80s as a dinosaur, but he's back big time.’


  • A negative answer.

    ‘the cabinet sits to give the final yea or nay to policies’
    • ‘By a roll call vote of 12 yeas to 19 nays, the amendment was defeated.’
    • ‘He then announced with solemn formality, ‘On this vote, there are 65 yeas and 32 nays.’’
    • ‘As I say, regardless of what was contained in the Revised Criminal Code, as usual, the yeas would easily outnumber the nays at the end of the day.’
    • ‘However, once Joint Defence Facility and Housing Commission households are subtracted from the results, the nays have it.’’
    • ‘Voting can be accomplished by raising hands, by paper ballots, by calling for the ayes and nays, by marching before an official counter, or by installing computer terminals for each legislator on which votes are registered.’
    • ‘The two brave souls who voted for the act, despite the overwhelming 402 nays, were democrats.’
    • ‘For example, the Challenge Round, while receiving more ayes than nays from fans, will definitely be modified to provide greater drama for the audience.’
    • ‘Sam's one aye was drowned out by the roomful of nays.’
    • ‘In the end, I think the nays had it - this was pretty self-indulgent.’
    • ‘According to Reuters, the nays won the day with 55.7 per cent of the vote.’
    • ‘So I have until next week to give the final yea or nay.’
    • ‘He probably was taking the counsel of his senior ministers, but not giving an aye or a nay - at least not in public.’
    • ‘But do not forget that at the end of the day it will be a Plans Panel of councillors (not including me) who say either yea or nay, so the more people who write to protest the better.’
    • ‘But, I repeat, no one doubted that he who controlled the Conan Doyle copyright could also say yea or nay to the further use of the character Sherlock Holmes.’
    • ‘No one at the garage door company seemed able to tell me yea or nay.’
    • ‘Has the Court of Criminal Appeal, by its disposition of those cases, indicated yea or nay whether immediate incarceration can ordinarily be expected to be the punishment imposed?’
    • ‘As this is our first formal review of products of this type, we think it best to postpone giving a formal yea or nay until we've had a chance to try out the competition's offerings.’
    • ‘It's all a judgment call at the end of the day, and one person usually will step in and say yea or nay.’
    • ‘Come up with details to support your yea or nay verdict.’
    • ‘As you know, he's on the Judiciary Committee, which must vote yea or nay on sending her nomination to the full Senate.’


Middle English (in nay (sense 2 of the adverb)): from Old Norse nei, from ne ‘not’ + ei ‘ever’ (compare with aye).