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

Saudi Arabia and others in OPEC are likely to back a continuation of oil-production curbs when the group meets in April, according to officials in the cartel, in defiance of U.S. pressure to keep crude prices low. Summer Said, WSJ, "Saudis Likely to Push to Maintain Output Cuts Despite U.S. Pressure," 25 Feb. 2019 In a show of defiance, Mr. Lukashenko has asked his government to look for other sources of oil, Belta reported. Thomas Grove, WSJ, "Belarus in Talks to Boost U.S. Presence," 14 Jan. 2019 Hungary’s defiance of EU norms has encouraged emulation, including by Poland’s ruling nationalists. Marcus Walker, WSJ, "EU Countries Face a Menu of Challenges," 20 Jan. 2019 There are also references to Cruz having obsessive-compulsive disorder, episodic mood disorder, oppositional defiance disorder and a history of aggression. Rosa Flores, CNN, "Stoneman Douglas' resource officer recommended committing Nikolas Cruz for mental health issues," 19 Mar. 2018 The elementary school seemed to be dragging its feet on providing a special-education plan for Mary, who is diagnosed with oppositional defiance disorder, and needs help staying focused in class. Sharon Broussard,, "The Anton family finds school in Beachwood challenging but fun," 12 Mar. 2018 But the number of RVs involved and Maher’s defiance made his case an extreme example. Aimee Green,, "Man who dumped junky RVs on Portland streets gets 25 days in jail," 5 Mar. 2018 Carlos wore a long string of beads around his neck, his jacket unzipped in utter defiance of Olympic rules. Deneen L. Brown, The Seattle Times, "An iconic Olympics moment: Looking back at the Black Power salute that rocked the world in 1968," 16 Oct. 2018 Now, Kavanaugh will also be confirmed — but in direct defiance of the public, which finds his accuser, Ford, more credible than him. Dylan Scott, Vox, "Republicans don’t care what you think," 6 Oct. 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

10 Mar 2019

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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 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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Comments on defiance

What made you want to look up defiance? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


grandiloquent, ostentatious, or bombastic

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