dis·​sent | \ di-ˈsent How to pronounce dissent (audio) \
dissented; dissenting; dissents

Definition of dissent

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to withhold assent or approval
2 : to differ in opinion Three of the justices dissented from the majority opinion.



Definition of dissent (Entry 2 of 2)

: difference of opinion heard voices of dissent at the meeting : such as
a : religious nonconformity permitted no dissent from church teachings
b law : a justice's nonconcurrence with a decision of the majority cited an earlier case in her dissent

called also dissenting opinion

c : political opposition to a government or its policies attempts to suppress domestic dissent

Examples of dissent in a Sentence

Verb The Supreme Court, with two justices dissenting, ruled that the law was constitutional. anyone who dissented was encouraged to speak out while they had the chance Noun Church leaders permitted no dissent from church teachings. He did everything in his power to suppress political dissent. These dissents come from prominent scientists and should not be ignored. She argued in her dissent that Congress had exceeded its authority. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The liberal justices, Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, are expected to dissent from either outcome. Mark Sherman And Jessica Gresko, Chicago Tribune, 11 May 2022 He is joined by various contributing editors, columnists, and authors with ties to the antiliberal left who also tend to dissent from core progressive pieties of the moment (including a focus on identity politics and intersectionality). Damon Linker, The Week, 22 Mar. 2022 Yet because it is known that some justices choose to dissent only behind closed doors, only the nine know for certain what happened. Joan Biskupic, CNN, 21 Jan. 2022 There is no doubt, however, that Trump will be apoplectic that his three Supreme Court nominees, Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, did not publicly dissent from denying his bid to keep his West Wing records secret. Stephen Collinson, CNN, 20 Jan. 2022 Lawyers for a coalition of civic groups challenging the law said in court papers Friday that the professors were told by the university that their expert testimony would dissent from the DeSantis administration, creating a conflict for the school. Mike Schneider, USA TODAY, 30 Oct. 2021 The price of sovereignty rests on the backs of those who dissent. New York Times, 17 Sep. 2021 Lay people who dissent from the scientific consensus may strike you as woefully credulous but often pride themselves on being independent-minded. New York Times, 13 July 2021 To underscore their commitment to the lie, Republicans who dissent from these lies are now pushed out of leadership roles. Matt Ford, The New Republic, 20 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun After picking up a yellow card for dissent late in the Timbers’ 1-1 draw against Vancouver last game, midfielder Sebastian Blanco will be suspended for Saturday’s game against San Jose due to yellow card accumulation. oregonlive, 22 July 2022 The space for dissent, always limited, is rapidly disappearing. New York Times, 25 June 2022 The physical match was notable for one other incident — Megan Rapinoe’s expulsion in the 72nd minute after picking up her second red card for dissent. Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times, 21 June 2022 Since seizing control of Gaza in 2007, Hamas has shown little tolerance for political dissent and has been accused of torturing opponents. Jamey Keaten, BostonGlobe.com, 7 June 2022 As the boundaries of acceptable opinion shift to the left, at least within major institutions, the opportunities for dissent have become concentrated on the right. Samuel Goldman, The Week, 22 Apr. 2022 He was originally booked with a yellow card at halftime for dissent against the match officials. Mike Gramajo, Orlando Sentinel, 20 Apr. 2022 The distaste for dissent also shows up in Musk’s reaction to the people assigned to scrutinize his work. Marina Koren, The Atlantic, 5 Apr. 2022 His reasons for the dissent were never publicly explained. Dan Balz, Anchorage Daily News, 26 Mar. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dissent.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of dissent


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1585, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for dissent

Verb and Noun

Middle English, from Latin dissentire, from dis- + sentire to feel — more at sense

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Time Traveler for dissent

Time Traveler

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

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Cite this Entry

“Dissent.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dissent. Accessed 10 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for dissent


dis·​sent | \ di-ˈsent How to pronounce dissent (audio) \
dissented; dissenting

Kids Definition of dissent

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: disagree sense 1 Mom suggested eating out, but Dad dissented.

Other Words from dissent

dissenter noun



Kids Definition of dissent (Entry 2 of 2)

: difference of opinion The class voted without dissent for a field trip.


intransitive verb
dis·​sent | \ di-ˈsent How to pronounce dissent (audio) \

Legal Definition of dissent

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to withhold assent or approval unfair squeezeout transactions—the kind to which public shareholders seem most likely to dissent— R. C. Clark — see also appraisal

Note: A shareholder who dissents from a proposed transaction may demand that the corporation buy his or her shares after an appraisal.

2 : to differ in opinion especially : to disagree with a majority opinion three of the justices dissented — compare concur

Other Words from dissent

dissenter noun



Legal Definition of dissent (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : difference of opinion especially : a judge's disagreement with the decision of the majority
2 : dissenting opinion at opinion
3 : the judge or group of judges that dissent — compare majority

More from Merriam-Webster on dissent

Nglish: Translation of dissent for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dissent for Arabic Speakers


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