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[ri-bel-yuh s] /rɪˈbɛl yəs/
defying or resisting some established authority, government, or tradition; insubordinate; inclined to rebel.
pertaining to or characteristic of rebels or rebellion.
(of things) resisting treatment; refractory.
Origin of rebellious
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English < Medieval Latin rebelliōsus, equivalent to Latin rebelli(ō) rebellion + -ōsus -ous
Related forms
rebelliously, adverb
rebelliousness, noun
half-rebellious, adjective
half-rebelliously, adverb
half-rebelliousness, noun
nonrebellious, adjective
nonrebelliously, adverb
nonrebelliousness, noun
quasi-rebellious, adjective
quasi-rebelliously, adverb
semirebellious, adjective
semirebelliously, adverb
semirebelliousness, noun
unrebellious, adjective
unrebelliously, adverb
unrebelliousness, noun
1. defiant, insurgent, mutinous, seditious, rebel, refractory, disobedient, contumacious. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for rebelliousness
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • For her rebelliousness and general contumacy she was condemned to be burned alive.

    Idling in Italy Joseph Collins
  • The rebelliousness of The Loom of Youth was in tune with the temper of the hour.

    The Loom of Youth Alec Waugh
  • Little by little he dominated his rebelliousness, and he made himself a great worker and a tireless intriguer.

    Csar or Nothing Po Baroja Baroja
  • Then the old doubting rancor and rebelliousness took possession of the multitude.

    Joshua, Complete Georg Ebers
  • The rebelliousness of Byron seems a rebelliousness not so much deliberate and intellectual as instinctive and impulsive.

    Suspended Judgments John Cowper Powys
  • Her defiance, resentment, rebelliousness, vanished from a softly agitated face.

  • Renee thought she began to comprehend the spirit of Venice, and chided her rebelliousness.

  • Hubert's rebelliousness disappeared on the instant, and he stared at his cousin in silent fright.

    Captain Ted Louis Pendleton
  • Notwithstanding my youth, my spirit has no fears of incurring a like rebelliousness.

    Pepita Ximenez Juan Valera
British Dictionary definitions for rebelliousness


showing a tendency towards rebellion
(of a problem, etc) difficult to overcome; refractory
Derived Forms
rebelliously, adverb
rebelliousness, noun
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 rebelliousness



early 15c., from Latin rebellis (see rebel (adj.)) + -ous. Related: Rebelliously; rebelliousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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