unsay

Definitions

  • WordNet 3.6
    • v unsay take back what one has said "He swallowed his words"
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • v. t Unsay To recant or recall, as what has been said; to refract; to take back again; to make as if not said. "You can say and unsay things at pleasure."
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • unsay To recant or recall after having been said; retract; take back: as, to unsay one's words.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • v.t Unsay un-sā′ to recall what has been said: to retract
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Quotations

  • Italo Calvino
    Italo%20Calvino
    “The unconscious is the ocean of the unsayable, of what has been expelled from the land of language, removed as a result of ancient prohibitions.”

Etymology

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
1st pref. un-, + say,

Usage

In literature:

When the boys tell their father he reproves them for their want of charity, and sends them back to unsay what they had said.
"Juliana Horatia Ewing And Her Books" by Horatia K. F. Eden
I mean, say to Bram Van Heemskirk words that you cannot unsay.
"The Bow of Orange Ribbon" by Amelia E. Barr
For thine own sake unsay those dreadful words.
"Early Reviews of English Poets" by John Louis Haney
Oh, if he could only unsay those words which he had hurled at Tom, his friend and companion!
"Tom Slade at Black Lake" by Percy Keese Fitzhugh
You will own that it might be possible that you would have to unsay what you had said.
"Can You Forgive Her?" by Anthony Trollope
How canst thou, then, unto my charge such grievous actions lay, And all thou hast so solemn said as solemnly unsay?
"The Modern Scottish Minstrel, Volume VI" by Various
Perhaps he should unsay it.
"Erik Dorn" by Ben Hecht
How canst thou, then, unto my charge such grievous actions lay, And all thou hast so solemn said as solemnly unsay?
"The Modern Scottish Minstrel, Volumes I-VI." by Various
And with the other half, could he and thou Unsay this villany.
"The Works of Lord Byron" by Lord Byron
Never yet had she had opportunity to unsay the cutting words with which she had met him that bitter night.
"A Tame Surrender, A Story of The Chicago Strike" by Charles King
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In poetry:

The ocean would as soon
Entreat the moon
Unsay the magic verse
That seals him hers
From silver noon to noon.
"Liberty Rejected" by William Watson
Good friend, unsay that graceless word!
I am a mother crowned with joy,
And yet I feel a bosom pang
To pass the little starveling boy.
"Limitations Of Benevolence" by Julia Ward Howe
The rest I pass, one sentence I unsay.
Had de Valera eaten parnell's heart
No loose-lipped demagogue had won the day.
No civil rancour torn the land apart.
"Parnell's Funeral" by William Butler Yeats
The sordid tribes who say and then unsay,
And flatter or asperse, and each for pay,
Of these, though here full rife, no talk we hold,
But leave them—glad to leave them—to their gold.
"Pretence. Part II - The Library" by John Kenyon
Where would you be? My arms you chose--
Arms too ready to seize and sin--
And kept no burning forbiddance in those
Still eyes of yours, or else, I think ...
No! I unsay it! No!... So drink.
"Over The Dregs" by Cale Young Rice
O lover, thy black prayer unsay,
Who called on baleful Anteros!
Crown thee with nettles, kneel, and lay
Thy brows upon love's altar close,
To the departing Eros pray
Against the wrath of Anteros.
"Anteros" by Clark Ashton Smith

In news:

The tradition of unsayable words or things is a long one.
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