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[dih-fahy-uh nt] /dɪˈfaɪ ənt/
characterized by defiance; boldly resistant or challenging:
a defiant attitude.
1830-40; < French défiant, Old French, present participle of defier to defy; see -ant
Related forms
defiantly, adverb
defiantness, noun
half-defiant, adjective
half-defiantly, adverb
nondefiant, adjective
nondefiantly, adverb
nondefiantness, noun
overdefiant, adjective
overdefiantly, adverb
overdefiantness, noun
quasi-defiant, adjective
quasi-defiantly, adverb
undefiant, adjective
undefiantly, adverb
insubordinate, contumacious, refractory, recalcitrant, rebellious, insolent; daring.
obedient. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for defiant
  • He sounds by turns defiant and wounded as he recounts the events leading to this pivotal juncture.
  • But it's not just defiant acts that can get you tossed into a foreign jail.
  • In the next few minutes, he appeared at various times deflated, defiant and disconcerted.
  • Good design can also be deeply defiant of existing systems.
  • Immense, defiant, breathless she stands there.
  • He wore dark glasses on stage and looked defiant.
  • His walk was jaunty and his manner defiant.
  • Her husband, usually stoic and straight-laced by comparison, was just as defiant.
  • It stands alone, defiant and a little humble.
  • There was no respite for her but she still stood defiant.
British Dictionary definitions for defiant


marked by resistance or bold opposition, as to authority; challenging
Derived Forms
defiantly, adverb
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 defiant

1837, from French défiant, present participle of défier (see defy). Related: Defiantly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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