Simple Definition of restive
: feeling bored or impatient while waiting for something to happen or change
Examples of restive in a sentence
<the restive horse threw its head and refused to move when the rider urged it forward>
<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
Rhymes with restive
RESTIVE Defined for Kids
Definition of restive for Students
: showing impatience, nervousness, or discomfort <a restive crowd>
Seen and Heard
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