dis·​obe·​di·​ence | \ ˌdis-ə-ˈbē-dē-ən(t)s How to pronounce disobedience (audio) , -ō-ˈbē- \

Definition of disobedience

: refusal or neglect to obey

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Examples of disobedience in a Sentence

The student's disobedience shocked the teacher. The dog was punished for its disobedience.
Recent Examples on the Web Carlsbad, a coastal community in northern San Diego County, has been a hotspot for disobedience despite the threat of fines. NBC News, "As Covid crisis grows, many California businesses flout the rules," 2 Jan. 2021 The violations included possession of contraband, assault and disobedience, prison records show. oregonlive, "A son’s crimes spurred the financial problems that led family to lose N. Portland house now at center of activist occupation," 10 Dec. 2020 That’s a breezy promise with as yet no real meaning—and activists know that distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine means, among many other things, a chance to resume civil-disobedience campaigns. Bill Mckibben, The New Yorker, "How Banks Could Bail Us Out of the Climate Crisis," 25 Nov. 2020 The artist Cameron Rowland read from a letter written by a South Carolina planter, detailing disobedience on his plantation—a litany of impudent acts that the planter seemed not to realize constituted a campaign of sly subversion. Alexis Okeowo, The New Yorker, "How Saidiya Hartman Retells the History of Black Life," 19 Oct. 2020 Civil disobedience has been a key factor in historic changes globally. Maureen Lee Lenker, EW.com, "Hear Jane Fonda read from her new book What Can I Do? My Path from Climate Despair to Action," 8 Sep. 2020 The strategy was employed to dramatize the unequal application of the law and to affirm the peaceful disobedience of this enterprise. Syreeta Mcfadden, The Atlantic, "Where Does Black Lives Matter Go from Here?," 3 Sep. 2020 The film is a story of love and disobedience as Pinocchio struggles to live up to his father’s expectations, per a brief logline. Nick Romano, EW.com, "Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio rounds out cast with Cate Blanchett, Tilda Swinton, more," 19 Aug. 2020 Civil disobedience is never the safest choice, but systems don’t change until people take a stand. Gary Hamel, Quartz at Work, "How to break free of bureaucracy in the workplace," 17 Aug. 2020

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

15th century, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for disobedience

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for disobedience

Last Updated

6 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Disobedience.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disobedience. Accessed 5 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for disobedience



English Language Learners Definition of disobedience

: refusal or failure to obey rules, laws, etc. : a lack of obedience


dis·​obe·​di·​ence | \ ˌdis-ə-ˈbē-dē-əns How to pronounce disobedience (audio) \

Kids Definition of disobedience

: an act of failing or refusing to behave as told or taught The dog was punished for disobedience.

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