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

The protests began in November as an act of defiance against the government’s plan to raise fuel taxes, a move intended to help France combat global climate change. Noemie Bisserbe, WSJ, "French Protesters Hang Up Their Yellow Vests," 16 June 2019 In the morning, streams of fellow protesters clad in black and white joined the campers in a show of defiance against the extradition bill. Time, "Fresh Protests Force Hong Kong to Postpone Extradition Bill Debate," 12 June 2019 The protest on Sunday was one of the largest in Hong Kong’s history, drawing a mass of people who filled the streets for more than a mile in a striking display of defiance against Beijing’s rule over the semiautonomous territory. Austin Ramzy, New York Times, "Hong Kong Leader, Carrie Lam, Says She Won’t Back Down on Extradition Bill," 10 June 2019 Bree’s act of defiance against a symbol of hate has been memorialized in photographs and artwork and has become a symbol of courage, resistance and the empowerment of women. Bree Newsome, SELF, "The 2018 Midterm Elections Proved That Change Must Happen from the Ground Up," 15 Nov. 2018 How could those not be political acts, if acting in defiance of them is, by definition, a political act? Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, "Bomani Jones on the N.B.A., Analytics, and Race," 17 June 2019 Gaspee Days harken back to June 1772, when Rhode Islanders set fire to a British customs schooner named the HMS Gaspee — an act of Colonial defiance a full year and a half before the Boston Tea Party. Edward Fitzpatrick,, "Once a desirable middle class destination, Warwick now faces financial stress," 13 June 2019 The House decided against taking both Barr and McGahn to court over subpoena defiance, although representatives are expected to vote on an authorization to go to civil court if needed on Tuesday. Renae Reints, Fortune, "Who Is Don McGahn? Former White House Counsel Is Embroiled in Trump Investigation," 11 June 2019 Despite her education and intellectual gifts, Julia’s writing was either secret or in defiance of his commands. Elaine Showalter, The New York Review of Books, "Whitman, Melville, & Julia Ward Howe: A Tale of Three Bicentennials," 27 May 2019

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

14 Jul 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

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