Definition of rebellious in US English:



  • 1Showing a desire to resist authority, control, or convention.

    ‘young people with a rebellious streak’
    • ‘Similarly, representations of the loyal house slave contrasted with representations of the field slaves as cunning and rebellious.’
    • ‘There will always be rebellious elements, challenging authority, pushing it as far as it can be pushed.’
    • ‘I am reinforced in this finding by the evidence of the plaintiff's rebellious attitude towards school attendance and by his resistance to parental authority.’
    • ‘This model is rebellious and fearful of authority as a vehicle of control.’
    • ‘If that was attitude for most, Samantha quickly showed that there was more to come; she swiftly became rebellious and resisted any order that came her way.’
    • ‘In my experience this taps into children's thirst for moral absolutes, for a cause to believe in and fight for - even into their rebellious streak.’
    • ‘These social invitations are generally issued at moments when his rebellious desires become most manifest, and he invariably declines them.’
    • ‘He has a stubborn streak and definite strains of a rebellious nature, partly cultivated by his circumstances, which give him an appetite for dispute.’
    • ‘In a world seen by many as being dictated by US foreign policy, there is plenty to be angry about; to protest against; and to be rebellious over.’
    • ‘Maintaining that they had at least struggled to suppress their own rebellious desires, they would not countenance their daughter's refusal to do the same.’
    • ‘Maybe he gets his rebellious streak from his mother, who stood up to her whole family.’
    • ‘Others, then, have spotted that restless, rebellious streak in him, which made a military career impossible.’
    • ‘They are indications of a slightly rebellious streak.’
    • ‘As a teenager, Kureishi responded to the racist taunts by immersing himself in rock music and nurturing his rebellious streak.’
    • ‘And if you file this under, I don't know, rebellious against authority or something, well, it is, yes.’
    • ‘Be your quirky self, but resist being rebellious.’
    • ‘Betty's punctiliousness and house-cleanliness drive Peter mad; in turn, his strong rebellious streak and disobeying of her house orders get under her skin.’
    • ‘She had played along as a child to keep both Meredith and her father happy, but as she grew up she had discovered her rebellious streak and the courage to make her own decisions.’
    • ‘Ask just about anyone and you'll soon find out that he is not your typical teenager with an unmistakable rebellious streak.’
    • ‘He couldn't boast of a youthful zest nor could he of a rebellious streak of fashion consciousness.’
    defiant, disobedient, insubordinate, unruly, ungovernable, unmanageable, uncontrollable, turbulent, mutinous, wayward, obstreperous, recalcitrant, refractory, intractable, resistant, dissentient, disaffected, malcontent
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    1. 1.1 (of a person, city, or state) engaged in opposition or armed resistance to an established government or ruler.
      ‘the rebellious republics’
      • ‘The state's authorities also felt that the rebellious people of Konigsberg probably deserved the treatment they got from the soldiers.’
      • ‘Other cartoons express a fear of collusion between British authorities, the rebellious Irish, and the Catholic Church.’
      • ‘Second, mass incarceration serves to keep under near total control rebellious and potentially insurrectionary populations.’
      • ‘Russia has been trying to pull the small, rebellious mountain republic back into its fold since the crumbling of the Soviet Union.’
      • ‘The longstanding and canny leader of this rebellious crew is set to step down this summer.’
      • ‘The more they criticised me, the more resistant and rebellious I became.’
      • ‘In a sense I agree that it may be too late to keep the rebellious province in the north within the republic.’
      • ‘Although Hannibal's army consisted of men of various races, they were never rebellious because they feared their leader.’
      • ‘His position is akin to that of the rebellious dissenters of the seventeenth century.’
      • ‘For much of the latter half of the 20th century, starting in the rebellious 1960s, the established order was suspect.’
      • ‘His own ancestor had put down one of the rebellious leaders.’
      • ‘Leaders fear that setting strict limits will either cause rebellious behavior or make them unpopular.’
      • ‘He launched the second invasion to retake by force the rebellious republic.’
      • ‘The underlying assumption that an actively rebellious people has been waiting for leadership, or working to organize itself, has also been wrong.’
      • ‘There is no denying the fact that the military operation in the rebellious republic is looked upon by Russian society as a virtual reality, as someone else's war, a horror movie that no one wants to watch.’
      • ‘It's an examination of early childhood dynamics and a rebellious attack on authority.’
      • ‘Draw an easy contrast between a rebellious son and a docile one.’
      • ‘His son was only nine years old, and so England, defeated on the Continent, was ruled by a regency - one controlled by those very same rebellious barons.’
      • ‘Thus, criticising young people and negatively stereotyping them as rebellious, met with strong aversion from the youth and children alike.’
      • ‘At the same time, the province of Songkhla, which had been rebellious since 1678, was placed under French control.’
      rebel, insurgent, mutinous, disorderly, lawless, out of control, mutinying, rebelling, rioting, riotous, revolutionary, seditious, subversive
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    2. 1.2 (of a thing) not easily handled or kept in place.
      ‘he smoothed back a rebellious lock of hair’
      • ‘So upon deciding the fresh air might do me some good, I wrestled my rebellious hair into a ponytail, dressed, and headed out the door.’
      • ‘I irritably brushed rebellious strands of golden brown hair off my face.’
      • ‘Her slender fingers raked into her ebony hair, holding the rebellious locks away from her face.’
      • ‘Although the effect was supposed to be reserved and dignified, his wig was slipping, revealing a few rebellious black hairs beneath it.’
      • ‘Now,’ she smiled, brushing back a few rebellious locks of Kitty's hair from her face, ‘eat your breakfast.’’
      • ‘We sat side by side on a sofa with rebellious springs and a layer of cat hair.’
      • ‘I finally managed to force my rebellious hair into two messy buns and proceeded to dress myself in my new uniform.’
      • ‘I smoothed a rebellious hair into place and turned to walk out of my room, desperately hoping that the dinner I was about to go to was a pleasant one.’
      • ‘The difference was Ali had tame jet-black hair in contrast to Rayne's rebellious brown mane.’
      • ‘He ran a hand over his blonde hair, grimacing slightly at the rebellious strands that refused his taming attempts.’
      • ‘One is brown, loose, civilised, and there is this whirlwind next to it - the other - as black as the girl's rebellious hair.’
      • ‘There was a breeze, and her rebellious hair began cascading down from the knot she'd put it in that morning.’
      • ‘He pulled it back into a ponytail at the nape of his neck, with a few rebellious strands of hair in his eyes.’
      • ‘Jamie didn't let go of his chin, but brushed a rebellious lock of blonde hair off his forehead.’
      • ‘Everything about the picture was perfect; even down to his few rebellious strands of hair by his neck.’
      • ‘Pushing a rebellious lock of hair away from her face, Violette moved slowly to where her mother was resting, bracing herself for all the reprimands she knew was going to come her way.’