de·fi·ance | \ di-ˈfī-ən(t)s , dē- \

Definition of defiance 

1 : the act or an instance of defying : challenge jailed for defiance of a court order

2 : disposition to resist : willingness to contend or fight dealing with a child's defiance

in defiance of

: contrary to : despite seemingly in defiance of the laws of physics He returned to the pulpit May 22 in defiance of an order by church leaders banning him from television preaching for one year. —Daniel E. Kubiske

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Examples of defiance in a Sentence

any defiance of the authoritarian regime would have dire consequences the troubled youth seems to have an ingrained defiance to authority of any sort

Recent Examples on the Web

For one thing, Trump is acting in flagrant defiance of longstanding Republican party dogma, which has for better or worse endorsed free trade as an unmitigated good. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Paul Ryan Unaware Constitution Lets Congress Override Presidential Veto," 12 July 2018 This transaction was in apparent defiance of a June 2002 memorandum of understanding between the city and restoration activists. Gilbert Garcia, San Antonio Express-News, "Court cases demonstrate Sculley’s disregard for process," 11 July 2018 Even so, the widespread belief among lawmakers was that Johnson will be overseas when the vote is called -- either with May’s approval or in open defiance of her. Robert Hutton,, "Tory Rebels See Johnson Freedom as License to Defy May on Brexit," 5 June 2018 In direct defiance of the Taylor Force passage, the P.A. recently released its current budget figures. Alex Traiman, Jewish Journal, "Will Israel pass a law to offset 'pay-to-slay' stipends to jailed Palestinian terrorists?," 2 May 2018 Accelerate your program in open defiance of international agreements, and the American president will offer to meet with you. New York Times, "How Trump’s Mixed Signals Complicate America’s Role in the World," 27 Apr. 2018 On Monday, The Atlantic uncovered evidence that Pruitt personally approved huge raises for his political staffers in direct defiance of White House orders, and lied to a Fox News reporter about it. Emily Atkin, The New Republic, "Why Trump Has Scott Pruitt’s Back," 10 Apr. 2018 In seeming defiance of the negative press surrounding the LASD, Baca was honored with the 2013 Sheriff of the Year award by the National Sheriffs’ Association. Alexander Nazaryan, Newsweek, "Lie and Deny: Secrecy and Suspicion Surround the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department," 21 Apr. 2016 Medicaid recipients can’t be forced to work to receive benefits, a federal court ruled today, in defiance of Trump administration plans to trim the rolls of the health-care program offered to the elderly, disabled, low-income families, and others. Glenn Fleishman, Fortune, "Federal Judge Blocks Work Requirements for Medicaid, Thwarting Trump," 29 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'defiance.' 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 defiance

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for defiance

Middle English diffiaunce, defyaunce, borrowed from Anglo-French defiance, difiaunce, from defier, desfier "to renounce, challenge, defy entry 1" + -ance, -aunce -ance

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Statistics for defiance

Last Updated

8 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for defiance

The first known use of defiance was in the 15th century

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English Language Learners Definition of defiance

: a refusal to obey something or someone : the act of defying someone or something


de·fi·ance | \ di-ˈfī-əns \

Kids Definition of defiance

1 : a refusal to obey a defiance of the rule

2 : a willingness to resist Obedience school cured the dog of defiance.

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Comments on defiance

What made you want to look up defiance? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


alleviating pain or harshness

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