Definition of defiant in English:



  • Showing defiance.

    ‘she was in a defiant mood’
    • ‘They can be cautious and indecisive, but also reactive, defiant and rebellious.’
    • ‘I like to think that the sprightly wit and defiant attitude are typical of McCay himself.’
    • ‘Many of the pickets were young, and were experiencing their first strike. The mood was defiant.’
    • ‘In the same defiant way, she decided not to let it rest when she was prescribed a drug she was convinced was inappropriate.’
    • ‘The children's facial expressions range from defiant to aggressive, from stoical to shy.’
    • ‘His nose is still the defiant beak it was when I first met him, when we were both thirteen and bullied at a new and ghastly school.’
    • ‘Her eyes flashed and she tossed back her hair in an attractively defiant gesture.’
    • ‘Croydon continued to press but the Oxted defence remained in a defiant mood.’
    • ‘He was defiant, telling them they'd have to earn their money through performance.’
    • ‘No lyricist has ever so articulately voiced the defiant, self-aware misery of adolescence.’
    • ‘Most people are just trying to sit and occupy a piece of pavement while holding a defiant peace sign in the air.’
    • ‘But, defiant as ever, he is willing to make that sacrifice and believes his time is now’
    • ‘This incident catapulted the opposition into more open and defiant resistance.’
    • ‘There were loud boos, punctuated by occasional defiant claps from isolated guests.’
    • ‘Bosses hope many of the jobs will be lost through voluntary redundancies but the mood on the shop floor is defiant.’
    • ‘There is a defiant resistance under way all over the world, and we would do well to join it.’
    • ‘It was a last defiant gesture of a man awarded medals for serving his country in Malaya.’
    • ‘Even his defiant courage is an in-character refusal to repent or seek redemption.’
    intransigent, resistant, obstinate, uncooperative, non-compliant, recalcitrant, confrontational, challenging
    aggressive, belligerent, pugnacious, bellicose, combative, ready for a fight, antagonistic, hostile
    obstreperous, truculent, dissenting, argumentative, quarrelsome, contentious, disobedient, insubordinate, subversive, rebellious, mutinous
    feisty, spoiling for a fight
    stroppy, bolshie
    View synonyms


Late 16th century: from French défiant or directly from defiance.