civil disobedience

noun

Definition of civil disobedience

: refusal to obey governmental demands or commands especially as a nonviolent and usually collective means of forcing concessions from the government

Examples of civil disobedience in a Sentence

In an act of civil disobedience, the family sent its tax money to an antiwar organization. A student organization is encouraging civil disobedience as a way to get the university to change its policies.

Recent Examples on the Web

Mere protests and appeals are not enough; extraordinary and resolute actions based on the idea of civil disobedience must be taken immediately. Vanessa Gera, The Seattle Times, "Poland bans Ukraine activist from Europe, raising questions," 20 Aug. 2018 This path demands civil disobedience, public demonstrations and national strikes aimed at a systemic collapse of the regime. Reza Pahlavi, WSJ, "Iranians Want Our Country Back," 15 Aug. 2018 What was meant to be a short-lived act of civil disobedience on Feb. 12, 2004, turned into a 29-day saga during which more than 4,000 couples wed, catapulting Newsom into the national fray. Shelby Grad, latimes.com, "Essential California: Fears of a deadlier opioid threat," 15 May 2018 The sight of more than 50 of the nation’s leaders united through a potent symbol of resistance and civil disobedience is exactly the right image to send on a night when the powers that be will undoubtedly push a divisive agenda. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Female Lawmakers Stand Up to the State of the Union in Suffragette White," 6 Feb. 2019 The campaign is the local iteration of a national campaign, with 40 groups nationwide devoted to engaging in civil disobedience every Monday this spring. Adrian Walker, BostonGlobe.com, "Monday’s downtown traffic jam was part of a national antipoverty campaign," 12 June 2018 But after tens of thousands of protesters responded to Pashinyan’s calls for more strikes, more road blockages, and general acts of civil disobedience across Yerevan the next day, the Republicans appeared to cave. Matthew Bodner, The New Republic, "Armenia Is Breaking the Post-Soviet Mold," 4 May 2018 For almost three weeks, many of them had served alongside Pashinyan in a unprecedented and peaceful campaign of civil disobedience against the sitting government. Matthew Bodner, The New Republic, "Armenia Is Breaking the Post-Soviet Mold," 4 May 2018 Five decades after King's death, that civil disobedience movement is back. latimes.com, "Today: Festivities and Fury," 15 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'civil disobedience.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of civil disobedience

1866, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for civil disobedience

Last Updated

6 May 2019

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Time Traveler for civil disobedience

The first known use of civil disobedience was in 1866

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More Definitions for civil disobedience

civil disobedience

noun

English Language Learners Definition of civil disobedience

: refusal to obey laws as a way of forcing the government to do or change something

civil disobedience

noun
civil dis·​obe·​di·​ence

Legal Definition of civil disobedience

: refusal to obey governmental demands or commands especially as a nonviolent and usually collective means of forcing concessions from the government

More from Merriam-Webster on civil disobedience

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for civil disobedience

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about civil disobedience

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