Definition of dissent in English:



  • 1[mass noun] The holding or expression of opinions at variance with those commonly or officially held.

    ‘there was no dissent from this view’
    • ‘This is the first sign of an Opposition shaping up to reflect current dissent from so many of current government policies.’
    • ‘The policy has apparently generated little dissent from within the Scouts.’
    • ‘The move caused widespread discontent in the Conservative Party and open dissent from leading modernisers.’
    • ‘But this is exactly the model that China has chosen to take - with little in the way of dissent from the ‘international community’.’
    • ‘Brown wrote the Committee for the Nation expressing his dissent from the President's gold purchasing program in late 1933.’
    • ‘There have been some signs of dissent from Barnaby Joyce and Queensland Liberal Senator David Johnston about the states' rights implications of the plans.’
    • ‘Fair enough, but why did we hear so little dissent from within the movement?’
    • ‘He pointed out that it was easy to exaggerate the importance of Australian expressions of dissent from Allied plans, and Curtin's messages.’
    • ‘There is some dissent from this among the comments - particularly Carrie.’
    • ‘These words provoked no murmurs of dissent from this largely Republican crowd.’
    • ‘Protest, chant, yell, shout your dissent from the rooftops.’
    • ‘Yet the organisation, with no dissent from the Executive or the Crown Office, continues to stand by its discredited experts.’
    • ‘When a state's appropriation imparts too generous a benefit to religion alone, the establishment clause should provide a pathway to dissent.’
    • ‘An ‘anti-national’ Press is not alone in its dissent from the orchestrated spectacle.’
    • ‘But in a move seen as an attempt to quell this dissent from the back benches, Mr Cullen announced the abolition of plans for the direct election of mayors.’
    • ‘It is at delicate moments in world affairs, such as this, that expressions of widespread dissent from opinion-formers can become a real political force.’
    • ‘To march is a symbolic act not only of dissent from the government's position but to remind everyone that a people is not - and can never be - the same as a regime.’
    • ‘He has just about put the lid on dissent from within the Cabinet.’
    • ‘One is composed of intellectuals, people who preach dissent from the values of the ‘core culture.’’
    • ‘I have continually argued for France's right to express its dissent from the opinion of the international community.’
    disagreement, lack of agreement, difference of opinion, argument, dispute, demur
    disapproval, objection, protest, opposition, defiance, insubordination
    conflict, friction, strife
    arguing, quarrelling, wrangling, bickering
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Refusal to accept the doctrines of an established or orthodox Church; nonconformity.
      ‘rural communities with a long tradition of Dissent’
      • ‘Or in the face of dissent when his party had lost their way and run short of food the avid Bible student resorted to his Scriptures.’
      • ‘They issue Tracts carrying forward a debate about Anglican identity: the Church of England would be Catholic but it would stand against Popery on the one hand and dissent on the other.’
      • ‘One perspective reflected a background of English / Welsh dissent and the other a Scots / Irish covenanter tradition.’
      • ‘Historians sometimes make the mistake of thinking that early modern religious dissent argues secularization.’
      • ‘It seems to me that this approach to dissent has the potential to be pastorally disastrous.’
      • ‘Are you getting at the fact that perhaps what we see in religious practice is not so much dissent, active opposition, but a kind of muddling through?’
      • ‘A state religious court evaluating nonconformity or dissent deserves whatever answers it receives.’
      • ‘For all liberals, the stumbling block in Newman's work is his consistently held conviction that the act of faith allows no room at all for dissent or doubt.’
      • ‘Church, democracy and dissent: Paul Rule reviews two books by Paul Collins.’
      • ‘Their readings have roots in and derive their stimulus from historical and political schema of dissent outlined in the biblical narratives.’
      • ‘It called for a new crackdown on doctrinal dissent, and recommended a papal investigation of American seminaries, the subtext of which was to blame gays.’
      • ‘A theology of dissent has become the new establishment.’
      • ‘The Inquisition's actions would be excessive today because we have the leisure to tolerate dissent with no threat to our survival - not as yet, at any rate.’
      • ‘Any dissent or questioning of the group's teachings is discouraged.’
      • ‘I maintained that my dissent was not from core tenets of Catholic faith, but from noninfallible church teachings.’
      • ‘No thesis of theology escapes criticism, and no edict is exempt from conscientious dissent.’
      • ‘That kind of perspective teaches me the need to respect dissent, nonconformity, and liberty of conscience as priority Baptist values.’
    2. 1.2(in sport) the offence of expressing disagreement with the referee's decision.
      ‘he was sent off for dissent’
      • ‘On the next Lancaster defence one of Bury's players was sent out for dissent to the referee.’
      • ‘Showing dissent at umpiring decisions can amount to violation of the conduct code for players.’
      • ‘Rotherham did not help their cause when they had a player sent off for dissent after arguing the decision to award a short corner.’
      • ‘The referee is surrounded by a mass of home team players, three of whom are cautioned for dissent, and the goalkeeper is sent off violent conduct.’
      • ‘Not even a week has passed since his reprieve and Ganguly has been penalised again, this time for showing dissent against an umpiring decision.’
    3. 1.3US [count noun]A statement by a judge giving reasons as to why he or she disagrees with a decision made by the other judges in a court case.
      ‘he wasted no time in cranking out nine majority opinions, as well as three dissents’
      • ‘In his biting dissent Justice Antonin Scalia charged that Justice Stevens' unusual approach was a result of judicial bias in favor of abortion.’
      • ‘That this is Justice White's position is clearly affirmed by Justice John Paul Stevens' comments on Justice White's dissent.’
      • ‘He took the unusual step of reading his dissent from the bench.’
      • ‘Thus Justice Douglas' dissent was based on an unproven supposition.’
      • ‘Simmons-Harris, was of course the most newsworthy aspect of the decision, but the dissents were no less revealing.’
      • ‘One suspects that their ultimate target was Justice Rehnquist's dissent in Jaffree, and that their goal was to repair the damage to Everson's foundation.’
      • ‘Thus, over 2 strong dissents, the Court did not permit the misappropriation claim.’
      • ‘The two-clerk era, saw an annual average of 107 opinions of the court, 78 dissents and 33 concurrences.’
      • ‘She has written or joined eighty-seven dissents from court decisions she deemed insufficiently activist in scope and character.’
      • ‘Now consider this dissent from Planned Parenthood vs. Casey by Antonin Scalia.’


  • 1 Hold or express opinions that are at variance with those commonly or officially held.

    ‘two members dissented from the majority’
    ‘there were a couple of dissenting voices’
    • ‘What's the difference between dissenting by deciding and taking the law into your own hands?’
    • ‘He can be unpredictable and even manage to dissent from established opinion, if only on the margin.’
    • ‘On every matter on which he could have dissented from the Government in its formation, he has gone with the Government.’
    • ‘Only one Senator out of the hundred dissented from the passage of the Patriot Act, which is providing unprecedented powers for law enforcement bodies.’
    • ‘But a significant minority in the Conservative Party dissented from this view.’
    • ‘They don't extend to justices who have dissented from the principle.’
    • ‘However, some Democrats dissented from that conclusion.’
    • ‘Seven judges expressed a separate opinion, while two dissented from the majority.’
    • ‘People can disagree, differ and dissent, even within the ruling party, without this negatively affecting the stability of our country and the peace that we continue to enjoy.’
    • ‘For the right it is an article of faith that scientists are dogmatic atheists with the will and the power to crush anyone who dissents from orthodoxy.’
    • ‘Alito, on the Circuit Court had dissented from the majority and said that Congress had the right to so act.’
    • ‘The third judge, Lord Justice Neuberger, dissented from this, stating that he did not consider it conducive to a fair trial.’
    • ‘He tangled with other cardinals and disciplined church officials who dissented from official church policy.’
    • ‘When I dissented from the liberal line on race, the Texas papers depicted me as a racist.’
    • ‘Some of them were actually aggressive, convinced that anyone who dissented from the view that their child was a genius must be motivated by malice.’
    • ‘Not one Supreme Court justice dissented from the Moyer opinion, which was drafted by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes.’
    • ‘Even before the dramatic escalation of hostilities yesterday, two Labor MPs publicly dissented from Labor's position.’
    • ‘No respondent dissented from the vocational view, but teachers rarely voiced it.’
    • ‘Only a fool likes to hear the sound of his own voice. We welcome dissenting opinions.’
    • ‘Most participants dissented from time to time and said they did not want to go on, but the researcher would prod them to continue.’
    1. 1.1Disagree with the doctrine of an established or orthodox Church.
      • ‘Baptists dissented from a state religion that claimed the right to determine what should be believed and how belief should be practiced.’
      • ‘Iranian historians were biased towards groups that dissented from mainstream Islam and rebelled against the Islamic caliphate.’
      • ‘There developed in Qumran a Jewish sect that dissented from Sadduceanism and was hostile to the Pharisians.’
      • ‘Along the way, Fraser reminds us, various sects dissented and established parochial schools.’
      • ‘That is, we dissented from somebody else's religion, and we paid the price for it.’
      differ, demur, diverge
      disagree with, fail to agree with, express disagreement with, be at odds with, be at variance with, argue with, take issue with
      decline to support, refuse to support, not ratify, protest against, object to, dispute, challenge, quibble over
      reject, repudiate, renounce, abjure
      View synonyms


Late Middle English: from Latin dissentire differ in sentiment.