To defy is to openly refuse to do something. You can defy the no-costumes-in-class rule if you wear your fairy wings to school, but just don’t try to defy the laws of gravity unless you can actually fly.

If you deliberately break a rule or ignore an order, you defy, or resist, that rule. The word defy comes from the Latin word disfidare for "renounce one's faith." So if you're expected to be faithful to a certain law or rule but you refuse to be, you defy it. There are different ways to defy — defy your parents by staying out past curfew, or defy common sense by walking in with shoes on your head.

Definitions of defy
  1. verb
    resist or confront with resistance
    “The politician defied public opinion”
    synonyms: hold, hold up, withstand
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    brave, brave out, endure, weather
    face and withstand with courage
    type of:
    hold out, resist, stand firm, withstand
    stand up or offer resistance to somebody or something
  2. verb
    synonyms: dare
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    face with defiance or impudence
    type of:
    issue a challenge to
  3. verb
    elude, especially in a baffling way
    “This behavior defies explanation”
    synonyms: refuse, resist
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    apply, lend oneself
    be applicable to; as to an analysis
    apply, go for, hold
    be pertinent or relevant or applicable
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    be beyond the resources of
    type of:
    elude, escape
    be incomprehensible to; escape understanding by
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