9 Different Ways To Say “No”

No way

This modern-sounding phrase has actually been around since the 1700s, and was included in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s abolitionist jeremiad Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The one-word regional variant noways was used as early as the 1400s. Modern usage of no way peaked in the 1980s, but has since been declining.


The antithesis of aye or yea in a parliamentary vote, nay comes from the Old Norse word nei meaning “not ever.” Its use has steadily declined since the mid-1700s.


Strangely, never had the same original meaning as nay, “not ever.” However, never comes from Old English, as opposed to Old Norse. Luckily for us, English is a motley language that accepts most contributions, so there’s room enough for both never and nay.


Though this ubiquitous word is most commonly used as an adverb, it has also experimented with being an interjection, particularly used to negate what was said before it or reveal sarcasm. This ancillary sense was first attested in 1900, but it was popularized in 1989 by Wayne’s World sketches on Saturday Night Live and has since fallen out of popular use, for better or worse.


Nix entered English in the late 1700s from the German word nichts meaning “nothing.” The verb sense of the word, as in “to nix a project,” did not arise until the early 1900s in the United States.


This neologism arose in the 1920s. This strange word is the pig Latin word for nix with the inversion of n- and -ix and the addition of the syllable -ay. The origins of pig Latin remain unknown, though it has been around since the 1700s.


This term comes from the Latin word of the same spelling that literally means “I forbid.” In Ancient Rome, the word, which happens to be an anagram of vote, was used by tribunes of citizens to oppose legislation of the Roman Senate. The term entered English in the 1600s as a noun and began to be used as verb in the early 1700s.


Deny has its origins in the Latin word denegare, which comes from the prefix de- meaning “completely” and negare meaning “to refuse.” The shortened ending is due to the word’s development through Old French in the 1500s.


This colloquialism was coined in the late 1800s in the US. It may have co-evolved with yep, the common alternative for yes. Sometimes in language evolution, opposites do attract.

Click to read more