de·​fi·​ance di-ˈfī-ən(t)s How to pronounce defiance (audio)
: the act or an instance of defying : challenge
jailed for defiance of a court order
: 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 Biden’s signature defiance appears to be hardening into denial. Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times, 6 July 2024 Bannon refused the lawful order — and Monday, began paying the consequences for that defiance, reporting to prison to serve a four-month term. New York Daily News Editorial Board, New York Daily News, 3 July 2024 If your child's defiance is not at the level of ODD, nor affected by some other underlying concern, there are ways to work on improving their behavior. Katherine Lee, Parents, 1 July 2024 Senate Bill 274 bans willful defiance suspensions and expulsions in California high schools through 2029. Sarah Linn, Sacramento Bee, 1 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for defiance 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'defiance.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near defiance

Cite this Entry

“Defiance.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


de·​fi·​ance di-ˈfī-ən(t)s How to pronounce defiance (audio)
: the act or an instance of defying : challenge
: a tendency to resist : contempt of opposition

More from Merriam-Webster on defiance

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