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

By stepping out as a voice in the movement, Starr puts herself in a space where she is seen by her friends as a symbol of defiance. Candice Frederick, Teen Vogue, ""The Hate U Give" Reckons With Staying Silent or Speaking Out Against Police Brutality," 5 Oct. 2018 Not as an act of defiance, but rather a symptom of my confusion. Corynne Cirilli, Town & Country, "Everything We Know About Meghan Markle's Family," 19 May 2018 In an act of principled defiance, IfNotNow turned them down, saying such closed-door sessions were useless and outdated. Abraham Riesman, Daily Intelligencer, "Can the young activists of IfNotNow change the conversation about Israel and the Palestinians, or will their contradictions hold them back?," 12 July 2018 If Rosa Parks showed the potential of defiance, [some historians] say, Emmett Till’s death warned of a bleak future without it. Gabby Raymond, Time, "The Justice Department Has Reopened Its Investigation of Emmett Till's Murder. Here Are 5 Things to Know About the Case," 12 July 2018 In the days after the attacks, Parisians rallied at cafes and terraces in a show of defiance, widely using the hashtag #Tousaubistrot (Everyone to the bistro) on social media. Washington Post, "AP PHOTOS: Paris bistros seek UN status as cultural gems," 5 July 2018 However, her voting record dovetails with the president's agenda more than 79 percent of the time, and despite a few instances of defiance, she's shown little interest in being a moderating force. Luke Darby, GQ, "Susan Collins Has a Chance to Show the American People What She’s Really Made Of," 2 July 2018 Apart from open defiance, the second-best way to resist Chicagoans' pointless prohibition of ketchup on a hot dog is with mockery. Mike Sula, Chicago Reader, "Chicagoland / Food & Drink / Food Chain Troll the Chicago hot dog fascists with this T-shirt," 25 June 2018 Whether being used as a form of escapism, an attempt to mobilize into higher classes, or a symbol of defiance, fastened hats are historically tied to the political climate in and around Great Britain. Aubrey Almanza, Allure, "The Bizarre History of Fascinators and Why People Wear Them to Royal Weddings," 18 May 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

17 Nov 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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