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[n., adj. reb-uh l; v. ri-bel] /n., adj. ˈrɛb əl; v. rɪˈbɛl/
a person who refuses allegiance to, resists, or rises in arms against the government or ruler of his or her country.
a person who resists any authority, control, or tradition.
rebellious; defiant.
of or pertaining to rebels.
verb (used without object), rebel, rebelled, rebelling.
to reject, resist, or rise in arms against one's government or ruler.
to resist or rise against some authority, control, or tradition.
to show or feel utter repugnance:
His very soul rebelled at spanking the child.
1250-1300; (adj.) Middle English < Old French rebelle < Latin rebellis renewing a war, equivalent to re- re- + bell(um) war + -is adj. suffix; (v.) Middle English rebellen (< Old French rebeller) < Latin rebellāre; (noun) Middle English rebel, derivative of the adj.
Related forms
rebellike, adjective
nonrebel, noun, adjective
prorebel, adjective
semirebel, noun
1. insurrectionist, mutineer, traitor. 1, 3. insurgent. 3. mutinous. 5. revolt, mutiny. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for rebel
  • In my experience underachieving teenagers are likely to rebel at any such such suggestions.
  • All that will do is make them feel guilty and then rebel.
  • If that were to occur, these same people would recognize their plight and perhaps rebel.
  • Today, a group of physicists rebel against this idea.
  • What used to be seen mostly on sailors and rebel rock stars is now a cultural norm.
  • He was with a group when rebel soldiers invaded their camp and took them all hostage.
  • Kids will do what kids will do to rebel until they find something better to do.
  • But to be a rebel you must rebel against an establishment.
  • He subdued the rebel by the process of fascinating him.
  • The village rebel who will not conform rebels first against the local religion.
British Dictionary definitions for rebel


verb (rɪˈbɛl) -bels, -belling, -belled (intransitive) often foll by against
to resist or rise up against a government or other authority, esp by force of arms
to dissent from an accepted moral code or convention of behaviour, dress, etc
to show repugnance (towards)
noun (ˈrɛbəl)
  1. a person who rebels
  2. (as modifier) a rebel soldier, a rebel leader
a person who dissents from some accepted moral code or convention of behaviour, dress, etc
Derived Forms
rebeldom, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Old French rebelle, from Latin rebellis insurgent, from re- + bellum war
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for rebel
c.1300, from O.Fr. rebelle (12c.), from L. rebellis "insurgent, rebellious," from rebellare "to rebel, wage war against," from re- "opposite, against," or perhaps "again" + bellare "wage war," from bellum "war." The noun is attested from c.1400. Meaning "supporter of the American cause in the War of Independence" is from 1775; sense of "supporter of the Southern cause in the American Civil War" is attested from April 15, 1861.
"The Southern troops, when charging or to express their delight, always yell in a manner peculiar to themselves. ... The Confederate officers declare that the rebel yell has a particular merit, and always produces a salutary and useful effect upon their adversaries. A corps is sometimes spoken of as a 'good yelling regiment.' " [A.J.L. Fremantle, "Three Months in the Southern States," 1863]
The verb (late 14c.) is from O.Fr. rebeller, from L. rebellare. Related: Rebellion (mid-14c.).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for rebel



A white Southerner (1862+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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