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[dih-fahy-uh nt] /dɪˈfaɪ ənt/
characterized by defiance; boldly resistant or challenging:
a defiant attitude.
Origin of defiant
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. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for defiant
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He spoke a few words to her as he took her hand in parting, and she looked up at him smiling and defiant.

    A Colony of Girls Kate Livingston Willard
  • The day closed with the men of Thomas still grim and defiant.

    The Rock of Chickamauga Joseph A. Altsheler
  • The Yugoslav (read: Serb) army – ostensibly the side that lost the war – is vibrant and defiant.

    After the Rain Sam Vaknin
  • Vagualame noted that Bobinette was regarding him with defiant eyes.

    A Nest of Spies Pierre Souvestre
  • He got between Hito and the door and stood ready to shut it,—erect, defiant, every muscle tense to spring.

    Nicanor - Teller of Tales C. Bryson Taylor
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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