de·​fi·​ance | \ di-ˈfī-ən(t)s How to pronounce defiance (audio) , 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

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 But coming after the Chinese territory’s mass pro-democracy protests in 2019, many activists saw the bans as an attempt to shut down displays of defiance to Beijing. NBC News, 4 Jan. 2022 The resulting skepticism has increased popular defiance of the CDC and officials like Dr. Anthony Fauci, especially on such matters as masks and vaccines. W. James Antle Iii, The Week, 29 Dec. 2021 The perverse thrill of the first season lay in how the show worshipped the trappings of such taste, holding up Paris as a perfect pastry of a place, while also endorsing Emily’s defiance. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, 28 Dec. 2021 Teachers battled student misbehavior, from low-level defiance to more fights, threats and gun violence. Erin Richards, USA TODAY, 22 Dec. 2021 Whether out of forgetfulness or defiance, some will arrive in stores, restaurants, entertainment venues and other indoor public spaces Wednesday, and business owners will be forced to ask for a quick cover up. Paul Sisson, San Diego Union-Tribune, 14 Dec. 2021 Catanzara has put out YouTube videos encouraging officers to disobey the city, predicting that such a mass defiance would deplete the police force by 50%. Jeremy Gorner,, 14 Nov. 2021 The military on Thursday discharged 103 Marines who refused to get a COVID-19 vaccine in defiance of a Pentagon mandate. Peter Aitken, Fox News, 17 Dec. 2021 One of Northern California’s outdoor power couples just pulled off one of their greatest feats: a destination wedding in a tiny Ecuadorian beach town with 110 guests in defiance of the coronavirus pandemic. Gregory Thomas, San Francisco Chronicle, 15 Dec. 2021

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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Time Traveler for defiance

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

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Last Updated

13 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Defiance.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jan. 2022.

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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 How to pronounce defiance (audio) \

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.

More from Merriam-Webster on defiance

Nglish: Translation of defiance for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of defiance for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about defiance


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