A Dictionary of the English Language
                        A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson
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View Scan · View Transcription · from page 1352

View Scan · View Transcription · from page 1352

Nay. adv. [na, Saxon, or ne aye.]

  1. No; an adverb of negation.

    Disputes in wrangling spend the day,
    Whilst one says only yea, and t'other nay.

  2. Not only so but more. A word of amplification.

    A good man always profits by his endeavour, yea, when he is absent; nay, when dead, by his example and memory; so good authors in their stile. Ben. Johnson's Discov.

    This is then the allay of Ovid's writings, which is sufficiently recompensed by his other excellencies; nay, this very fault is not without its beauties; for the most severe censor cannot but be pleased. Dryden.

    If a son should strike his father, not only the criminal but his whole family would be rooted out, nay, the inhabitants of the place where he lived, would be put to the sword, nay, the place itself would be razed. Addis. Spect. № 180.

  3. Word of refusal.

    They have beaten us openly uncondemned, being Romans, and have cast us into prison; and now do they thrust us out privily? nay verily; but let them come themselves and fetch us out. Acts xvi. 37.

    The fox made several excuses, but the stork would not be said nay; so that at last he promised him to come. L'Estrange, Fable 31.

    He that will not when he may,
    When he would he shall have nay.

Sources: The Bible - Acts (20) · Addison, Joseph (408) · Denham, John (75) · Dryden, John (788) · L'Estrange, Roger (131) · The Bible - Proverbs (19)

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Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "Nay." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: January 5, 2013. https://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/nay/.

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