de·​fi·​ant | \di-ˈfī-ənt, dē-\

Definition of defiant 

: full of or showing a disposition to challenge, resist, or fight : full of or showing defiance : bold, impudent defiant rebels a defiant refusal Mantor struck a defiant pose, his chin out, and rocked for a moment on the heels of his boots.— Christopher Ketcham

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Other Words from defiant

defiantly adverb

Examples of defiant in a Sentence

He's taken a defiant stand on the issue. the defiant puppy refused to let go of the football

Recent Examples on the Web

The defiant, pensive reputation dropped in November, and Swift launched her stadium tour this month. Rebecca Farley,, "Taylor Swift Appeared At Her First Awards Show In Years & Had Some Things To Say," 21 May 2018 Trump however remains defiant, insisting that trade wars are good and easy to win. James Osborne, Houston Chronicle, "Exxon, Chevron CEOs warn Trump tariffs hurting oil sector," 26 June 2018 While Trump remained publicly defiant, his aides signaled that White House resolve was cracking. David Lauter,, "Faced with a political crisis, Trump blinks, but the crisis isn't close to being over," 22 June 2018 On Tuesday, Harvard and other universities were defiant in defending their admissions policies as legal. Deirdre Fernandes,, "Trump administration changes course on affirmative action," 4 July 2018 Consequently, students who become disinterested in a course or vocal about its shortcomings and historical erasure are often labeled defiant and pushed out of the classroom. Valerie Strauss, Washington Post, "TEACHING FOR BLACK LIVES," 10 July 2018 More than that, you're invited to keep going, to wear their perseverance and defiant instincts for survival as your own. Julie Muncy, WIRED, "Extreme Meatpunks Forever," 11 July 2018 Stidd, in defiant comments to the court, maintained his innocence and accused the state of lying to convict him. The Olympian Staff, The Seattle Times, "Man gets 41-year sentence for killing Olympia woman whose body was never found," 9 July 2018 One painting features a woman’s hand, covered with henna, clasped in a defiant fist. Libby Solomon,, "'No one can stop me': Afghan artist Sughra Hussainy on women's rights and change through art," 3 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'defiant.' 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 defiant

1583, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for defiant

in part borrowed from French défiant "mistrustful," from present participle of défier "to mistrust, challenge, defy entry 1," going back to Old French; in part from defi(ance) + -ant entry 2

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Statistics for defiant

Last Updated

18 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for defiant

The first known use of defiant was in 1583

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More Definitions for defiant



English Language Learners Definition of defiant

: refusing to obey something or someone : full of defiance


de·​fi·​ant | \di-ˈfī-ənt \

Kids Definition of defiant

: showing a willingness to resist … the boy had not run but stood still and defiant— William H. Armstrong, Sounder

Other Words from defiant

defiantly adverb

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Comments on defiant

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


by force of circumstances

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