de·​fi·​ant | \ di-ˈfī-ənt How to pronounce defiant (audio) , 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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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

With boys, however, anxiety can come out in even more surprising ways through oppositional and defiant behavior. Emily Edlynn, Good Housekeeping, "Signs of Anxiety Are Different in Boys — Learn What to Look Out For," 29 Apr. 2019 California officials remained characteristically defiant, vowing to defend their landmark legislation. Time, "Trump Administration Puts Pressure on 'Sanctuary State' California With a New Lawsuit," 7 Mar. 2018 In response, people were sad, and sometimes defiant, because eating cookie dough is one of the great pleasures of being alive, along with petting dogs. Rachel Sugar, Vox, "2018 was a difficult year for cookies," 21 Dec. 2018 More Judge Kavanaugh, who was defiant, angry and at times emotional throughout his testimony on Thursday, wouldn’t commit to a new FBI investigation when asked by Democrats to request one. Peter Nicholas, WSJ, "White House Directs FBI to Interview First Two Kavanaugh Accusers, But Not the Third," 29 Sep. 2018 Still, Alejandra seeks to permanently change this ongoing dark spot in our nation’s continued history through her defiant activism and powerful storytelling. Danielle Campoamor, Teen Vogue, "ICE Detained This Outspoken Activist. Here's What She Had to Say the Day Before a Judge Ordered Her Deportation," 12 Dec. 2018 Part breakup song, part defiant anthem of belonging, the long poem that makes up Pico’s third book is divided into sassy but vulnerable couplets. New York Times, "New & Noteworthy," 29 May 2018 On the eve of a special legislative session to consider his impeachment, Gov. Eric Greitens struck a defiant tone Thursday, vowing to continue to fight despite allegations of criminal wrongdoing swirling around his administration. Jason Hancock, kansascity, "Greitens vows he won’t quit, works to rally allies in Missouri House | The Kansas City Star," 17 May 2018 Los Angeles-area Democratic Sen. Tony Mendoza offered his first words of conciliation but otherwise struck a defiant tone in a two-page letter to fellow senators who can censure, suspend or expel him as soon as Thursday. John D. Harden, Houston Chronicle, "Houston area school investigating allegations of sexual misconduct that spans back decades," 9 May 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

6 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

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 How to pronounce defiant (audio) \

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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More from Merriam-Webster on defiant

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with defiant

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for defiant

Spanish Central: Translation of defiant

Nglish: Translation of defiant for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of defiant for Arabic Speakers

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).


a strong desire or propensity

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