Definition of rebel in English:



  • 1A person who rises in opposition or armed resistance against an established government or ruler.

    ‘Tory rebels’
    [as modifier] ‘rebel forces’
    • ‘Toussaint had honed his defiant style for years as a leader of a rebel faction whose positions sometimes seemed like militancy for its own sake.’
    • ‘But they have failed to kill or capture the main rebel leaders, or flush the guerrillas out of the south.’
    • ‘The rebel leaders had taken the high ground, and as many as 300 strong outnumbered the troops by approximately three to one.’
    • ‘Police blamed the explosion on rebels waging an armed insurrection in the kingdom.’
    • ‘Forked story paths in the beginning allow you to choose between siding with the armed rebels in resistance or the Soviets in appeasement.’
    • ‘Putin canceled his trip to Mexico to deal with the hostage crisis at a Moscow theater, which ended Saturday after Russian special forces stormed it and killed the rebel leader and many in his group.’
    • ‘These reluctant leaders tamed disorderly rebels into a disciplined force, and sought enough concessions from the king to send the commons home content.’
    • ‘Since 1991 the rebel force Revolutionary United Front has abducted 15,000 children.’
    • ‘But the State Department said the United States and its international partners do not recognize the rebel leader as head of the Haitian armed forces.’
    • ‘This date marks the 200th Anniversary to the very day when the rebel leader ended his resistance and walked through the gates of Humewood and into captivity.’
    • ‘On some of the 11 other complaints lodged by lawyers of the jailed rebel leader, the court ruled in Turkey's favour.’
    • ‘The underground fighters have been called many things in the past - hostiles, insurgents, rebels, militants, armed Naga gangs.’
    • ‘Heavily armed security forces then stormed the place and caught the rebel leader by surprise.’
    • ‘The rebel leaders, as a result, have sent their embarrassing child-soldiers back across the border into Liberia.’
    • ‘In 1986, the rebel leader travelled to Washington where he was received like a head of state, meeting the President in the Oval Office.’
    • ‘The rebel movement was the armed wing of an opposition group, the Popular Congress Party, Adam said.’
    • ‘However, during the truce, the party's militia would respond with force in the event it came under attack from government security forces, the rebel leader said.’
    • ‘There are no insurance companies in rebel-held eastern Congo, and the Rwandan-backed rebels who control the city have no resources of their own to assist the victims.’
    • ‘Dozens of boys and men suffocated to death, locked for days in an airless, sweltering shipping container by rebels controlling northern Ivory Coast, according to two survivors.’
    • ‘The rebels waging the armed insurgency have in the past also set free soldiers or policemen captured during fighting with government forces.’
    revolutionary, insurgent, revolutionist, mutineer, agitator, subversive, guerrilla, anarchist, terrorist
    insurgent, revolutionary, mutinous, rebellious, mutinying
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    1. 1.1A person who resists authority, control, or convention.
      • ‘Right from the white-T-shirted, blue-jeaned Adonis of his early films, and even before that, Brando was a rebel and a maverick.’
      • ‘After all, the rise of the rebel biker has literally been hand-in-hand with the advent of popular and alternative culture.’
      • ‘But then so did my family, including the experience with the collection of mavericks, doughty rebels and oddballs that was the Latin Mass Society.’
      • ‘That's changing, thanks to the Internet, and to rogues and rebels like Tong and his collaborators at his Studios.’
      • ‘Back then, I was into Bukowski the iconoclast, the rebel with that irreverent humour.’
      • ‘Power is hierarchical; the rebel challenges authority, presumes to be the defiant equal of his creator or of his king, and is convinced that his stubbornness will redeem him.’
      • ‘Once feared by the authorities and celebrated by rebels from Notting Hill to Zimbabwe, roots reggae has been sanitised.’
      • ‘During her years at Westminster she became a notable rebel, supporting controversial causes, such as the Troops Out campaign for British withdrawal from Northern Ireland.’
      • ‘You're not exactly a rebel to authority, but you never hesitate to challenge anyone who assumes power irresponsibly.’
      • ‘It isn't very easy to control a rebel daughter, but somehow I managed.’
      • ‘Jude is a tour de force, a refashioned version of the Jewish mother as a bohemian, a rebel against convention who critiques mainstream culture.’
      • ‘The idea that children are natural rebels who reject convention and prefer a state of anarchy is bunk.’
      • ‘Hetfield, still the rebel bad boy, resists the process until he goes into rehab for six months and gets with the Program.’
      • ‘And yet that same culture would flatter us into believing we are a nation of mavericks and rebels.’
      • ‘He was seen as a rebel who challenged authority in order to preserve his freedom.’
      • ‘But, hey, I'm a rebel without a clue, so I'm going to do it.’
      • ‘Stiglitz himself, who won the Nobel Prize for Economics last year, was something of a maverick, an internal rebel.’
      nonconformist, dissenter, dissident, iconoclast, maverick
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  • 1 Rise in opposition or armed resistance to an established government or ruler.

    ‘the Earl of Pembroke subsequently rebelled against Henry III’
    • ‘Aristede paid tribute to national hero Toussaint L' Ouverture, the leader of African slaves who rebelled against the French colonial government.’
    • ‘In late 1854, self-employed miners and prospectors in the Victorian town of Ballarat rebelled against the government and set up an armed camp named the Eureka Stockade.’
    • ‘It became the intellectual and emotional sign of opposition, rejecting racial humiliation, rebelling against domination and ultimately leading to revolution.’
    • ‘It has also created the foundation behind which Hanson has been able to create a following that rebelled against the established ‘royal chamber and its courtiers’.’
    • ‘We should be thanking Teina for doing what other MPs have been frightened to do - rebel against their leader.’
    • ‘America rose up and rebelled, and then expanded in power until it tipped the balance during World War One and harnessed the power of the atom to win World War Two.’
    • ‘During the first 150 years the Jews twice rebelled against their Roman leaders, both rebellions were brutally put down, and were followed by stern restrictions on Jewish freedom.’
    • ‘Three Congress leaders rebelled and Sonia resigned as party president.’
    • ‘In extremity, they rebelled and rioted with regularity and enthusiasm.’
    • ‘Was he rebelling against the Republican establishment?’
    • ‘Ancient traditions regarding this apostate leader show that he rebelled against God, and in so doing, created a worldwide apostasy.’
    • ‘Instead of these ancient bones heralding the rise and rise of man, they are actually a warning against rebelling against God and losing all.’
    • ‘The Party unlawfully suspended three dissident MPs from the party for rebelling against the leadership, the High Court in Belfast ruled yesterday.’
    • ‘The Vesey rebellion conspiracy has been seen as one of a handful of examples of militant, coordinated, large-scale resistance in a country where slaves almost never rebelled.’
    • ‘Thus, after four years of unsuccessful petitions to their state leaders, the backcountry farmers rebelled.’
    • ‘The continuing nightmare of the war is making soldiers rebel against their leaders' plans.’
    • ‘The Muslim Governer of Hydrabad in southern India rebelled and established a separate Shi'a state, he also reintroduced religious toleration.’
    • ‘The end result was that the congregation was told that I had rebelled against our much-beloved leader's authority, had done despite to the church and should be told to come no longer.’
    • ‘I thought it was tied, before two of the opposition rebelled!’
    • ‘Twenty years later they were to be left with no more than the recently conquered Canada, as their old colonies rebelled and established the new United States of America.’
    revolt, mutiny, riot, rise up, rise up in arms, take up arms, mount a rebellion, stage a rebellion, take to the streets, defy the authorities, refuse to obey orders, be insubordinate
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    1. 1.1(of a person) resist authority, control, or convention.
      ‘respect did not prevent children from rebelling against their parents’
      • ‘They can't prohibit us from rising up and rebelling.’
      • ‘And if they joined the United States armed services, they surely did not join to rebel or defect to the enemy.’
      • ‘Even anarchists who rebel against every establishment have their own establishment of rules.’
      • ‘People rebel, either secretly or openly, against an airtight system, two towers of power representing the same people in charge, the illusion of difference.’
      • ‘My only solace is the fact that most kids rebel against their teachers and do the opposite.’
      • ‘As I grew older, body image was very important to her, so it must be her fault that I rebelled by becoming the opposite of her ideal image.’
      • ‘He subsequently rebelled against an arranged marriage and fled to Johannesburg in 1941.’
      • ‘Teenage rebellion finds so little opposition that it tends to rebel against anything it comes across.’
      • ‘Durso skillfully gleans her story from both primary and secondary sources, portraying a woman who rebelled against established societal norms.’
      • ‘You function best in a position of control and may rebel against power or authority or domination at work.’
      • ‘Mind you, I never really rebelled, so maybe that's what this is now.’
      • ‘As the casualty toll rose, eventually they would rebel at the cost of the war and force the government of the day to bring the army home.’
      • ‘You function best in a position of control and rebel against domination by people in power or authority.’
      • ‘Well, individuals fighting or rebelling against the status quo, the establishment, is good for drama.’
      • ‘However, studying the general population of adolescents revealed that many do not rebel against authority but maintain good relationships with parents and teachers throughout.’
      • ‘An official from the union, which recommended the offer, declared, ‘the members are rebelling and not respecting their union leaders.’’
      • ‘Jorg Haider points out that ‘a gap has developed between the people and the political establishment… and now people are rebelling all over the place’ .’
      • ‘Are you saying that America rebelled against its leaders?’
      • ‘It is time for the other Serie A clubs to rise up and rebel against this situation.’
      • ‘That it came down to whether one felt McEnroe was rebelling against the establishment - so eagerly represented by English tennis - or merely bullying a flustered fellow in a blazer from middle England.’
      • ‘We must settle for nothing less than leaders who care and exude character and maturity as they rebel against the beliefs and models that no longer work.’
      defy, disobey, refuse to obey, flout, kick against, challenge, oppose, resist, be at odds with, refuse to accept the authority of, repudiate
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    2. 1.2Show or feel repugnance for or resistance to something.
      ‘as I came over the hill my legs rebelled—I could walk no further’
      • ‘Conscientious and conservative judges, both state and federal, should have rebelled against the abortion decision in Roe.’
      • ‘Her mind rebelled, clinging with stunning primeval ferocity to that deep-rooted fear of losing control.’
      • ‘It was as if her logical mind was fully intent on rebelling against her.’
      • ‘We think we make our own decisions, then find out years later that we were rebelling against decisions made for us, and rebellions are always imposed on people.’
      • ‘His body and mind rebelled and he could not cope with the torture anymore.’
      • ‘She threw her body violently upright and stiffened, breathing heavily against her rebelling mind, pressing her thoughts into the silent empty space around her.’
      • ‘Any program that your mind interprets as punishment is one your mind is bound to rebel against.’
      • ‘The mind rebels at the attempt: one child randomly slain on the threshold of adulthood, the other burdened for life with the guilt of Cain.’
      • ‘Americans know Europe as the society against which the US rebelled and, in the American mind, superseded.’
      • ‘And I found that I hated having a numb mind and I was rebelling against that and writing.’
      • ‘Her mind, her soul, all her being rebelled against it, but accept it she must, and, if Adam had anything to do with it, accept it she would.’
      • ‘A few times I tried to call my mind to what I was going to do, but my mind rebelled against the effort.’
      • ‘Our insights and ‘change of mind’ invite us to rebel against the traditional ways we live, think, and lead and to do so in creative ways.’
      • ‘Charlie's mind immediately rebelled at the notion; neither of her friends would do such a thing.’
      • ‘Pressing on despite his rebelling mind he came to the boiler itself, a short walk from the stairs and looking like it hadn't seen the light of day for a good two hundred years.’
      • ‘Part of me still rebelled, urged my legs to slow down, not to get to the class early.’
      • ‘His conscious mind rebelled against this notion, but it mattered not.’
      • ‘It is a language which invites the mind to rebel against itself causing inflamed ideas grotesque postures and a theoretical approach to common body functions.’
      • ‘His very mind and heart rebelled at the very thought.’
      • ‘He was prepared to face the deadly or the bizarre, but some orderly corner of his mind still rebelled against uncertainty.’
      recoil, feel repugnance, show repugnance
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Middle English: from Old French rebelle (noun), rebeller (verb), from Latin rebellis (used originally with reference to a fresh declaration of war by the defeated), based on bellum war.