Definition of insurgent in US English:



  • A rebel or revolutionary.

    ‘an attack by armed insurgents’
    • ‘There will be insurgents who will still be out there who will try to keep people from voting.’
    • ‘Leniency also should be extended to those insurgents and terrorists who give up the armed struggle.’
    • ‘It was believed to have been the first such attack by insurgents on a bridge.’
    • ‘During his presidency, Taylor continued to battle insurgents who opposed his rule.’
    • ‘All three nations have provided support to the insurgents attacking coalition forces.’
    • ‘Later, four policemen were killed in the raid when insurgents attacked them.’
    • ‘When he came to the top of that mountainside, he was out of the sight of insurgents.’
    • ‘However, he added that it is a state subject and the state will decide how to negotiate with insurgents.’
    • ‘In Ulster the insurgents were mainly Presbyterians in religion and Republicans in politics.’
    • ‘He slid down a mountain and that is how he stayed out of the eyes, ears and hands of the insurgents.’
    • ‘Before we talk about the aim of insurgents, I want to ask you about a report out today.’
    • ‘E-mail and mobile phones were the most effective ways of communication among the insurgents.’
    • ‘If you use terms like militants, insurgents, guerrillas, you are not saying these people are evil.’
    • ‘With crimes like this, it's not hard to see why the insurgents keep attacking the police.’
    • ‘He said the insurgents operate in the city and have attacked civilians in the past.’
    • ‘Terror as a weapon has been wielded since early times, sometimes by insurgents, more often by governments.’
    • ‘But he also said the mission would not involve giving in to demands from insurgents.’
    • ‘A car filled with insurgents raced up and seven heavily armed men poured out in a suicidal rush.’
    • ‘That is a message that all but the most nihilistic of the armed insurgents will have to accept.’
    • ‘The spread in violence indicates that the insurgents are now stronger and better organised.’
    rebel, revolutionary, revolutionist, mutineer, agitator, subversive, guerrilla, anarchist, terrorist, bioterrorist, narcoterrorist, ecoterrorist, cyberterrorist, agroterrorist, rioter
    View synonyms


  • 1attributive Rising in active revolt.

    ‘alleged links with insurgent groups’
    • ‘To combat an insurgent force of between 3,000 and 6,000, British forces embarked on a brutal war.’
    • ‘It's a situation where the insurgent forces have to try to start a civil war and break up the different factions more so than they are now.’
    • ‘It was not difficult for the local population to differentiate between these constructive efforts and the often brutal, terroristic actions of insurgent forces.’
    • ‘The were first formed in the sixties to protect against cold war menaces and insurgent forces such as the terrorist organization known as the London Underground.’
    • ‘A revised Plan Colombia must be directed toward substantive, flexible, and pragmatic peace negotiations with the insurgent groups.’
    • ‘The insurgent terrorists have launched a day of mayhem.’
    • ‘The outer ring of the model contains fielded forces of insurgent fighters and terrorists.’
    • ‘For example, in two communications, one targeting potential insurgent recruits and one active guerrillas, both should discourage resistance.’
    • ‘Taking a page out of the tactics of Anglo-American imperialism in Italy, the Stalinist bureaucracy leaves the insurgent proletariat to be crushed by the retreating Nazis.’
    • ‘India has numerous armed insurgent groups, and suffers from frequently tense Muslim-Hindu relations that recently exploded into violence.’
    • ‘This process of fission may then spread beyond the borders of the state itself, as refugee populations flee across the border, and as insurgent groups use frontier zones for their base camps.’
    • ‘But the turning point of the film, the Warsaw Ghetto uprising where 40,000 insurgent Jews held off the Nazis for almost a month with few weapons, is watched from a distance.’
    • ‘No, I do not remember any crimes being committed, other than the work of terrorist organisations and insurgent forces.’
    • ‘The most foreboding of these trends involves insurgent and terrorist groups who fund their ideological agendas with drug money.’
    • ‘In response, the British colonial rulers conspired with the leaders of the Indian National Congress and the Muslim League to divide the insurgent masses on a communal basis.’
    • ‘Yet, there are at least 24 insurgent groups active in the state.’
    • ‘Elsewhere in the article an anonymous diplomat says the U.S. has a newfound willingness to negotiate with insurgent groups, a risky but potentially fruitful concession.’
    • ‘He has previous experience in helping the labor bureaucracy ward off an insurgent rank and file.’
    • ‘A cancer cell is like an insurgent terrorist with a very well-defined agenda.’
    • ‘As for insurgents from other countries, the reports I've read said they constitute about 10 percent of the insurgent forces.’
    1. 1.1 Relating to rebels.
      ‘a series of insurgent attacks’
      • ‘The higher than expected cost of protecting workers against insurgent attacks - about 25 cents of every reconstruction dollar now pays for security - has sent the cost of projects skyward.’
      • ‘They recognize a lot of policemen who are on the front line are bearing the brunt of insurgent attacks, that when suicide bombs go off, they are often at checkpoints.’
      • ‘That was followed by a very bloody year and growing insurgent attacks.’
      • ‘There have been few insurgent attacks against his troops.’
      • ‘A powerful, insurgent movement had engulfed Italy in the years after 1969.’
      • ‘According to the report his camera contained footage of an insurgent attack on American forces.’
      • ‘Since then, insurgent activity has increased.’
      • ‘Insurgent attacks continue almost daily and death tolls mount.’
      • ‘In October of this year, there were 3,100 insurgent attacks.’
      • ‘Resistance fighters have frequently targeted foreign planes in the area, which is an insurgent stronghold.’
      • ‘In the capital and around the heart of the country, where at least 44 were killed in insurgent attacks, an election curfew was coming into force with families reflecting on a day of renewed bloodshed.’
      • ‘So if they can thwart it through terrorist and insurgent violence, they think they'll get a victory.’
      • ‘According to reports there were very few insurgent casualties, since rebels had withdrawn from their positions before the attacks.’
      • ‘However, the widespread, diffuse, and closed nature of terrorist / insurgent organizations makes this impossible.’
      • ‘A senior U.S. military official says, since the election, insurgent attacks are down 22 percent.’
      • ‘Access to, and influence over, civilian populations is a source of strength for insurgent movements and arguably terrorist networks.’
      • ‘In Malaya the British defeated an insurgent communist movement.’
      • ‘U.S. troops faces escalating insurgent attacks.’
      • ‘These young soldiers, and they are very young, all have their own way of coping with the threat of insurgent attacks, the instant when a normal day can become a disaster.’
      • ‘The worst times have seen 90 insurgent attacks every 24 hours.’
      rebellious, rebel, revolutionary, mutinous, mutinying
      View synonyms


Mid 18th century: via French from Latin insurgent- ‘arising’, from the verb insurgere, from in- ‘into, towards’ + surgere ‘to rise’.