definition of no

an original definition by J. E. Brown

  1. No. No means no.
  2. A single short word which means “This is one of my boundaries. I am now standing up for myself. With one word, I am defining what Respect means. You are hereby notified.” {You’re reading “Definition of no” by J. E. Brown.}
  3. An interjection indicating refusal of permission.
  4. n. Any member of a class of utterances informing the recipient that an interpersonal boundary exists and that respect for that boundary is expected. Example: “Hands off” is a no.

Kindergarten Definition: One of those unfair things parents and teachers always say. ;^)


  • noes.


  • No, thank you.
  • Say no: decline, refuse.

Synonyms, nonstandard:

  • “Maybe later.” A phrase used by spineless people who lack the courage to say no.
  • A repeated “No” (in reply to an invitation) is how most people say “Never.” When someone tells you No, always keep count, and have a limit in mind. Judith Martin (Miss Manners) says the limit is three “noes”, but I believe that number should only apply to established friendships, and even then, you should use your sensitivity and your knowledge of your friend’s circumstances when deciding on an exact limit. New acquaintances who want to make a good impression on you will say Yes to your first invitation, or will negotiate in good faith for a different date or time. Otherwise I recommend a limit of one invitation per person, after which, you should wait for the relationship to improve.
  • Silence. In many cases involving invitations or conversations, silence means no, because many people are too timid to say no. You have every right to interpret a silence as a no if you’re the one putting out the invitation, or if you’re the only one making an effort at a friendship.


  • You’re welcome. (Because “no” means “You’re not welcome to do or have or use something/that.”)
  • Yes.

Related Concepts:

  • Boundaries; dating pool; respect; self-respect. {Read this comp1ete article at .}

Excerpts from my book (in progress)

No Means No.

  • It does not mean “Keep asking.”
  • It does not mean “Keep flirting.”
  • It does not mean “Try harder.”
  • It does not mean “Insult me until I say yes.” {Read this comp1ete article at .}
  • It does not mean “Continue the hard sell tactics.”
  • It does not mean “Display every sign of disrespect.”
  • It does not mean “Take up more of my time by reciting a list of all the reasons why you thought I should say Yes!” — which frankly sounds like you’re arguing with me. No means no.
  • It does not mean “Probe my boundaries to find out how much crap and how much bullying you can get away with.”
  • It does not mean “Disobey me as soon as my head is turned.”
  • It does not mean “Act like I owe you an explanation.”
  • It does not mean “Listen to my explanation and then pretend you don’t understand it.”
  • It does not mean “Turn vicious, abusive, and snotty.”
  • It does not mean “Turn abusive, and punish me for saying No, as a way of breaking down my defenses, as a way of grooming me to accept your creepy unilateral advances.”
  • It does not mean “Try to bend my will, while snarling at me about the importance of politeness and manners, in a blatant attempt to use scary displays of dominance, as if dominance were negotiation.” … making use of the fact that young people are easy to embarrass, and this makes them easy to coerce and control. That is a tactic used by sex offenders. Also a manipulation tactic commonly used by older people against younger people, in an attempt to exploit the tendency of younger people to become shy and apologetic, to please authority figures at all costs. (Commonly seen in older-vs.-younger situations.)
  • It is not an invitation to debate.
  • No, like all of my decisions, is final. {You’re reading “Definition of no” by J. E. Brown.}
  • It means “Bother me one more time and I’ll tell you to fuck off.” It means “Next time you open your mouth, it had better be to give me an apology, or to promise to die right here in the street, or to give me your boss’s phone number so we can talk about your future.” It means “If you continue, I’ll blow up — which is probably the only boundary you respect because disrespect and blow-ups were a ‘normal’ everyday thing in your low-class family of origin.” It means “If you go against my choice, I will create unpredictable consequences for you, and you won’t like them.”

— J. E. Brown

“No” means “Our relationship is less close than you thought it was.” Say no carefully.

— J. E. Brown

Q & A.

  1. What’s a polite way to say no without offending someone?
  1. You don’t win by asking the question “What’s the polite way to respond?” You don’t win by asking “How can I correct him without offending him?” When someone is challenging your boundaries, you don’t win debates by having the better argument or by having an arsenal of zingers memorized and ready.
    You win when jerks are afraid to take you on. That only happens when you show them that you’re tougher than they bargained for. That you can be unpredictable when provoked. That you can be nasty when you’re treated like you don’t matter. Politeness is best reserved for people who act like friends. But some people — many people, in fact — are out to take advantage of you. If you insist on believing that saying no to them isn’t polite, then you have a problem saying no. {You’re reading “Definition of no” by J. E. Brown.}

— J. E. Brown

Dating, Renting, Hiring, and Boundaries.

If you’ve ever posted a personal ad, a housing ad, or a job ad, you know all about the bad apples and the bad applicants. You know what it’s like to be pestered and harassed by unsuitable suitors.

No Means No. No means what it means, for the same reason “You do not meet the requirements” means what it means. And yet it’s amazing that so many trolls, leches and losers think you weren’t talking about them when you wrote the requirements. {You’re reading “Definition of no” by J. E. Brown.}

I learned this when I was renting out a room in my house: When people want something badly enough (a rental room, a job, the right to date you), they will ignore the clearly stated requirements, like they can’t read or something. When you call them on it, they will get nasty. No amount of explanation will make them understand. If you know those two things, you will go far in life, without being weighed down by unnecessary people who add dead weight to your life and your work and your efforts.

Many people think that if you have something desirable, they are excused from meeting ANY AND ALL requirements. This applies to dating, renting, and job seeking: If a dishonest person wants a job badly enough, or a house, or a romantic partner, he will disregard ALL rules and boundaries. This involves a kind of dishonesty which blinds a person to seeing his own unfitness for the position (related: see conceit). This puts the full burden on you: You have to be ready to say no and mean it. You’re going to feel that you have to fight these people off with a stick. {Read this comp1ete article at .}

Hopefully someday social networks will provide a way to defend against these losers, because dishonesty is a kind of “poor credit”, and dishonest people won’t self-disqualify. Social networks and dating sites really need to track the behavior of predator members and protect unsuspecting new members.

The Trouble with College Roommates.

Their only past housemates were family members, and so, they may have strange ideas about boundaries. For example, they may try to share your stuff without asking first. And even if they do ask first, they may come from forced sharing environments where their siblings weren’t allowed to say no, where asking permission was understood to be a meaningless formality. Expect these housemates to throw tantrums when you introduce them to reality.

— J. E. Brown

Boundary Issues

• Children reared in abusive homes grow up with distortions concerning personal boundaries, or even totally unaware that such things exist.

— Wikipedia, “Borderline Personality Disorder”, downloaded 22 Nov 2006

Never say no twice to a stranger. If you have to say no a second time, you should go directly to “Get lost.”

A friend is someone who respects your boundaries.

Some people will dump you if you try to have any boundaries at all. Any correction of them, no matter how gentle, will end the relationship or result in revenge.

Lack of respect for your boundaries reveals how others perceive the pecking order. {Read this comp1ete article at .}

Burning bridges is healthy. It gives you practice at defending your boundaries.

— J. E. Brown

How to Spot Abusers and Rapists in the Dating Pool.

  • Won’t take “no” for an answer.
  • Couldn’t care less about being what you’re looking for. Approaches you and keeps pestering you even though you’ve been quite clear about what you’re looking for. You explained that in your profile, but you begin to feel that no amount of detail is good enough. Some people grew up with cruelty in their family of origin, and unfortunately, that cruelty is all they understand, and it’s the only deterrent that works. {Read this comp1ete article at .}
  • Can’t produce a coherent sentence unless angry. And they get angry easily.
  • When you say no, they turn abusive. Everything is a fight with these people. No wonder they’re lonely.
  • The only tool they know for relationship building, the tool they go for first, is their snarling demand that you consider their happiness, even while they ignore your happiness. How dare you to ask for the same consideration they demand from you.

— J. E. Brown

The Rudeness of Captain Kirk.

When I was young, I watched an episode of the original Star Trek. When the starship Enterprise was being boarded by an enemy, Captain Kirk said something that rocked my world:

I do not negotiate for control of my ship.{You’re reading “Definition of no” by J. E. Brown.}

To me, as a child, that was a shocking statement. Captain Kirk could get sent to time out for talking that way! My parents and teachers had taught me that we should all Get Along and not be selfish with our toys. They even taught me singsong slogans to say about it, like “Share and share alike.” Deep down, I felt the Captain was being very rude. I never forgot his naughty display of bad attitude. {Read this comp1ete article at .}

It wasn’t until adulthood that I understood better: Some people, the Klingons of this world, are not here to play nicely, and if we wish to have money and property and a career and children and happiness — and to keep them — then we must occasionally defend them. This means breaking a few of the rules we learned in the playpen, for it means we must say no to people, and even put up our fists to people. More importantly, it means we must learn to feel good about doing so, and not feel guilty about it, because that guilt robs us of resolve. If we have internalized the lessons our parents taught us so completely that we wouldn’t hurt a mosquito (or a human with the attitude of a mosquito), then we are no protectors of home and family.

— J. E. Brown

Some people think there’s a Fountain of Youth, a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, and a Nicer Way to say No Thank You.

— J. E. Brown

People Who Can’t Say No.

If you’re dating, be especially wary of this behavior pattern: You ask someone out. He or she says yes, but then contacts you at the last minute to cancel. So you reschedule, but again, when the agreed-upon time arrives, he or she bails at the last minute. Later you discover that he or she has been assassinating your character by spreading rumors that you can’t take a hint. This is common behavior in persons who are already in a relationship but lack the spine to tell you.

Failing to say no is also called “Leading Someone On.”

— J. E. Brown

2nd edition 16 Mar 2015
1st edition 13 Sep 2014

Further Reading at Other Sites

Thought of the Week

more Thoughts of the Week


definition of no, what does no mean, define no, what is no, no is defined as. Misspellings: defination, deffinition, difinition, what is no mean

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  • Is there a booklet of manners in your house?
    We offer this one:
    How Rude! — a booklet about rude and abusive people, and how to recognize them

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