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 Then late Monday, Musk declared that his company's factory would reopen in direct defiance of orders by Alameda County, where the plant is located. David Z. Morris, Fortune, "Tesla’s lockdown lawsuit is about much more than Tesla," 13 May 2020 Still, Luther’s defiance has gained support from conservative pundits and leaders, including Gov. Greg Abbott, Sen. Ted Cruz and President Donald Trump. Charles Scudder, Dallas News, "Dallas salon owner Shelley Luther starts nonprofit to support small businesses," 12 May 2020 His anger and defiance eventually boiled over, and his grandmother kicked him out of the family home. Amir Vera, CNN, "Tory Lanez is using the success of 'Quarantine Radio' to help families struggling through the pandemic," 4 May 2020 The news was widely greeted with dismay by anti-whaling activists, while Japanese officials presented it as an act of defiance and principle. Kieran Mulvaney, National Geographic, "Commercial whaling may be over in Iceland," 1 May 2020 At least another 400 people were gathered together on the steps and lawn, in direct defiance of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home order and California Highway Patrol’s ban on protests on state properties. Fox News, "Lockdown protests taking place across the country as other states begin to open," 1 May 2020 The virus is also causing anxiety and disrupted sleep, which is manifesting as defiance. Linda Gandee, cleveland, "Parents and teachers speak out on the dark side of educating kids at home," 27 Apr. 2020 Finally, there's a bit defiance involved in his decision. Tom Daykin, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "This Milwaukee developer could have delayed two new projects. Instead, he's proceeding despite the pandemic.," 3 Apr. 2020 Going last is no longer an act of defiance on Alabama’s part. Kyle Whitmire, al, "Whitmire: Alabama is stuck on autopilot," 2 Apr. 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

18 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Defiance.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Jun. 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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