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

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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 Between 300 and 400 people gathered for two hours last week, joining together in the middle of the iconic bridge and worshipping in defiance of the Democrat governor's new order, according to organizers. Fox News, "Hundreds protest California’s singing ban at Golden Gate Bridge: ‘Let us worship’," 14 July 2020 The bomber joined a high-profile deployment of two aircraft carrier strike groups for drills near the Paracel Islands on Saturday, in defiance of China’s claim to sovereignty over the territory and the surrounding ocean. Joel Gehrke, Washington Examiner, "‘They can't compete’: US flexes bombers that can strike mainland China," 8 July 2020 About 100 protesters decked out in red, white and blue gathered in defiance of state mandates aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19 in support of individuals' rights at the Arizona Capitol on Saturday. Audrey Jensen, The Arizona Republic, "Protesters gather at Arizona Capitol on Fourth of July in support of individuals' rights," 6 July 2020 Chris Palone, the owner of the Rail Club in Fort Worth, went rogue and opened his business in defiance of Governor Gregg Abbott's order closing bars in the state. Janet Shamlian, CBS News, "New coronavirus cases skyrocket on Fourth of July weekend," 3 July 2020 The capital, La Paz, and other major cities see demonstrations near daily in defiance of antivirus measures., "Brazil, ravaged by the coronavirus, becomes key testing ground for vaccine," 3 July 2020 During the shutdown, some stylists continued to worked in defiance of state orders; some were jailed. Karen Heller, Washington Post, "The hair salon is now a place of anxiety. And clients can’t wait to return.," 2 July 2020 In some areas, such as Cadiz and Guadalajara, local authorities hung Pride flags in defiance of the ban. Jack Guy, CNN, "This Spanish town was forced to take down its Pride flag -- so residents decked it out in rainbows," 29 June 2020 The visa restrictions are a retaliation for China's move to impose an anti-sedition law on Hong Kong and to arrest pro-democracy activists, in defiance of the international agreement to respect the former British colony’s traditional freedoms. Joel Gehrke, Washington Examiner, "Pompeo bars 10 Chinese officials from US in response to Hong Kong oppression," 26 June 2020

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

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for defiance

Last Updated

23 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Defiance.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for defiance


How to pronounce defiance (audio)

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.

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