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adjective res·tive \ˈres-tiv\

Simple Definition of restive

  • : feeling bored or impatient while waiting for something to happen or change

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of restive

  1. 1 :  stubbornly resisting control :  balky

  2. 2 :  marked by impatience or uneasiness :  fidgety

restively adverb
restiveness noun

Examples of restive in a sentence

  1. <the restive horse threw its head and refused to move when the rider urged it forward>

  2. <spent a restive night worrying about the next day's exam>

Did You Know?

Restive ultimately comes from the Anglo-French word rester, meaning "to stop, resist, or remain." In its earliest use, restive meant "sluggish" or "inactive," though this sense is no longer in use. Another early sense was "stubborn, obstinate." Specifically, restive often referred to horses that refused to do as commanded. This general application to unruly horses may have influenced the development of the "fidgety, impatient" sense of restive. Some usage commentators have objected to this newer sense, but it has been in use for well over a century, and is now the more common of the uses.

Origin of restive

Middle English restyf, from Anglo-French restif, from rester to stop, resist, remain

First Known Use: 15th century

Synonym Discussion of restive

contrary, perverse, restive, balky, wayward mean inclined to resist authority or control. contrary implies a temperamental unwillingness to accept orders or advice <a contrary child>. perverse may imply wrongheaded, determined, or cranky opposition to what is reasonable or normal <a perverse, intractable critic>. restive suggests unwillingness or inability to submit to discipline or follow orders <tired soldiers growing restive>. balky suggests a refusing to proceed in a desired direction or course of action <a balky witness>. wayward suggests strong-willed capriciousness and irregularity in behavior <a school for wayward youths>.

Rhymes with restive

RESTIVE Defined for Kids


adjective res·tive \ˈre-stiv\

Definition of restive for Students

  1. :  showing impatience, nervousness, or discomfort <a restive crowd>

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