Definition of renegade in US English:



  • 1A person who deserts and betrays an organization, country, or set of principles.

    • ‘By courier, winged messenger and hand-scroll, the spies among the renegades had informed him of their movements toward his walled capital.’
    • ‘He must understand that the threat posed by police involvement in organised crime extends far beyond a public relations problem, and must make good on his promise to take firm action against the renegades under his command.’
    • ‘The thesis was simple: only a small minority of renegades had acted against their own nation.’
    • ‘David Morse, as an American engineer, faces horrific conditions after being kidnapped by Colombian renegades.’
    • ‘He didn't want a band of renegades looking to make trouble near his family.’
    • ‘Today, growing fears that military renegades may have hatched a conspiracy to attempt to aid the enemy.’
    • ‘I think it is an unfortunate fact that we are faced with a small band of renegades who are professional killers and who will continue to try to attack us to effectively roll back the tide of history.’
    • ‘The renegades, aptly named the Wolves, were formed when, having deserted their battalions for unknown reasons, they met in a gully off the coast somewhere below Twofold Bay.’
    • ‘This voice, of course, was not heard, and they were branded as renegades to the cause of liberty.’
    • ‘You are to capture these four renegades and bring them to me alive.’
    • ‘There have been renegades for many years in the IRA, splinter groups and the like.’
    • ‘Let India reclaim itself from the criminals and outlaws, reprobates and renegades.’
    • ‘Euthanasia advocates in the US yesterday said her assisted suicide was facilitated by renegades prepared to operate outside the law for money.’
    • ‘The expansion of Anglo-Norman lords in Ireland took place through alliances with Irishmen whom it is anachronistic to label renegades or traitors.’
    • ‘There is no proof that it was us who attacked your home… they were renegades.’
    • ‘This is the first time there was a significant capture of renegades.’
    • ‘I suppose I forgot to mention it, but as a rule we don't allow renegades to partake in raids on the houses they used to belong to.’
    • ‘And in The Last Samurai, our most American-as-apple-pie actor, Tom Cruise, falls in love with Japanese warrior ways and becomes a renegade from the American army.’
    • ‘As was the custom after a successful major raid, the renegades had a celebration involving singing, dancing, giving out names to those who had earned them, and, of course, drinking.’
    • ‘Because of fuel thieves and pipeline saboteurs, pump stations had to conduct frequent patrols, especially at night when the Iraqi renegades would hide under the cover of darkness.’
    traitor, defector, deserter, turncoat, betrayer
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    1. 1.1archaic A person who abandons religion; an apostate.
      • ‘These renegades have rebelled against and rejected Heaven and His life, so they must in turn be denied life.’
    2. 1.2 A person who behaves in a rebelliously unconventional manner.
      • ‘There is an unhealthy acceptance of the bad boys of sport as evidenced by last week's telly programme depicting renegades in a ‘sympathetic’ light.’
      • ‘There's a reason that this outfit of hip hop renegades are on Warp.’
      • ‘Between there and the mainland were only a few scattered fishermen, renegades, loners and eccentrics.’
      • ‘We've got your special look at radio's original renegade.’
      • ‘Does our new TV image now exclude the drag queen heroes and social renegades who gave rise to the Stonewall revolution?’
      • ‘Some renegades, however, are out of the closet and proudly displaying fake whiskers and five-o'clock shadow, along with suits, boots and suspenders.’
      • ‘He knew that he needed to assemble a team of renegades, so he personally interviewed every employee, seeking out those who could handle the demands of such an entrepreneurial environment.’
      • ‘The gay scene was sort of a safe haven for any sort of social misfit or renegade.’
      • ‘‘They were renegades back then, and I guess we still are,’ said the veteran pilot and editor-in-chief of Ultralight Flying!’
      • ‘In 1970, when I first started rock climbing, I thought it was a sport for renegades and eccentrics, maybe like tree climbing is today.’
      • ‘The ‘fourth wall’ of performance means about as much to these devil-may-care renegades as the no-white-after-Labour-Day rule that fashion fascists love to impose on free spirits.’
      • ‘Out of over 30 cousins on one side alone, there are few renegades, and any sort of self-reliance is seen as catastrophic, or worse, deluded.’
      critic, sceptic, questioner
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  • 1Having treacherously changed allegiance.

    ‘a renegade bodyguard’
    • ‘But a Shiah leader said the attackers may have been renegade tribal factions from within the Shiah community.’
    • ‘China regards Taiwan as a renegade province and seeks to isolate it diplomatically.’
    • ‘I mean, he's not perfect, he does not have 100 percent control over these renegade terrorists, but he does have some respect in the Middle East.’
    • ‘Parents panic and one renegade cop goes berserk, in footage that is clearly recalling the riots of the previous decade and a half, from Watts to Kent State.’
    • ‘In El Salvador in the 1980s, 55 special forces troops beat back a guerrilla insurgency while gradually integrating renegade militias into a newly professionalized national army.’
    • ‘Soon, however, that report was shot down, and the standoff, pitting a renegade cleric against the powers that be, was right back where it began.’
    • ‘To this end, he has assembled not only his amazing array of weapons and inventions, but also a small army who serve as his renegade security force and ship's crew.’
    • ‘Renegade warlords and militants now control much of the main island of Guadalcanal.’
    • ‘The controversy follows close on the heels of the FY99 Appropriations Bill Report which noted China was increasing its readiness and ability to take back what China considers to be the renegade province.’
    • ‘The tour has apparently upset China, which claims Taiwan as a renegade province.’
    • ‘Each tactical mission you complete gains insight into the greater objectives of the renegade faction of this global energy consortium.’
    • ‘The rioters blame the 10,800-strong UN force in Congo for failing to stop Wednesday's capture of the eastern border city of Bukavu by renegade commanders once allied with neighbouring Rwanda.’
    • ‘The so-called ‘janjaweed,’ to which news reports refer, are a renegade element of the Popular Defense Force.’
    • ‘He worried about thieves and renegade soldiers but none crossed his path as he galloped boldly through woods and desert.’
    • ‘The renegade commander had returned to a small village in the middle of an opium-growing area and had taken up residence with up to 300 gun-toting supporters.’
    • ‘And for us to say it's just a few renegade soldiers, listen, I know that those were the ones on the photographs, but there were others who were derelict in their duty.’
    • ‘There was no claim of responsibility, but renegade groups in one militia have said they will not observe the truce.’
    • ‘After fighting a successful duel with a local drunken bully, the man earns the reputation of being a terrifying warrior and is ordered by his lord to execute a renegade samurai.’
    • ‘He has been claiming that such mass killings are the handiwork of the security forces themselves directly or through the renegade militants under control of official agencies.’
    • ‘The experience of the war on drugs suggests that if he is killed, another renegade warlord is likely to take his place and that even greater regional - even global - instability may result.’
    treacherous, traitorous, disloyal, perfidious, treasonous, rebel, mutinous, rebellious
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    1. 1.1archaic Having abandoned one's religious beliefs.
      ‘a renegade monk’


Late 15th century: from Spanish renegado, from medieval Latin renegatus ‘renounced’, past participle (used as a noun) of renegare, from re- (expressing intensive force) + Latin negare ‘deny’.