in·​so·​lent | \ ˈin(t)-s(ə-)lənt How to pronounce insolent (audio) \

Definition of insolent

1 : insultingly contemptuous in speech or conduct : overbearing
2 : exhibiting boldness or effrontery : impudent

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Other Words from insolent

insolent noun
insolently adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for insolent

proud, arrogant, haughty, lordly, insolent, overbearing, supercilious, disdainful mean showing scorn for inferiors. proud may suggest an assumed superiority or loftiness. too proud to take charity arrogant implies a claiming for oneself of more consideration or importance than is warranted. a conceited and arrogant executive haughty suggests a consciousness of superior birth or position. a haughty aristocrat lordly implies pomposity or an arrogant display of power. a lordly condescension insolent implies contemptuous haughtiness. ignored by an insolent waiter overbearing suggests a tyrannical manner or an intolerable insolence. an overbearing supervisor supercilious implies a cool, patronizing haughtiness. an aloof and supercilious manner disdainful suggests a more active and openly scornful superciliousness. disdainful of their social inferiors

Examples of insolent in a Sentence

… the tempos were all-out fast and the tone was flat-out insolent. To some, rock-and-roll was as threatening as Communism and desegregation. — Margo Jefferson, New York Times, 26 Oct. 1994 Sweating, cursing the whole Mickey Mouse operation, they paced themselves with their own insolent complaints while the foreman cursed loudest … — Jayne Anne Phillips, Granta, Spring 1991 They could go days without food or water; they could withstand burning heat …  ; and if they were horribly cruel to their captives, they could themselves accept torture with insolent defiance. — James A. Michener, Texas, 1985 Insolent behavior will not be tolerated. an appallingly insolent reply to a reasonable request
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Recent Examples on the Web His worst behavior is being insolent and arrogant with the school counselor. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Review: Artemis Fowl is a crushing disappointment," 13 June 2020 But the stage only lights up when Ribler’s Marchbanks is skulking around in his velvet smoking jacket, looking now anguished, now insolent, now ecstatic. Washington Post, "A giddy poet lights up ‘Candida’," 30 Sep. 2019 As Omari, Kory Pullman turns the nearly impossible trick of conveying a troubled young man as both a stubborn, insolent jackass and a vulnerable, hurting kid. Dominic P. Papatola, Twin Cities, "Theater review: Penumbra’s ‘Pipeline’ is disturbing and necessary," 5 Oct. 2019 The banking powers are more despotic than a monarchy, more insolent than autocracy, more selfish than bureaucracy. Letters To The Editor, The Mercury News, "Letter: Wealthy should thank the poor for Republican tax cuts," 22 Aug. 2019 Writing about Sabatini’s many bad choices and insolent remarks always requires consideration. Lauren Ritchie,, "Elected officials should learn value of manners | Commentary," 21 June 2019 Frankly, there’s something amusingly insolent about it, like scolding an egomaniacal lead guitarist, only to watch him unleash an indulgent, one-hour solo. WSJ, "The Baseball Game That Almost Never Ended," 28 Oct. 2018 In particular, the character of Roy Cohn, incarnated by Nathan Lane with insolent glee, seemed to channel the voice of the current political zeitgeist. Charles Mcnulty,, "'Angels in America,' the right play for our fractious times," 26 Mar. 2018 Dunn was a superbly insolent Mercutio, all flicking feet and snickering hands and insinuating pelvis. Jeffrey Gantz,, "Boston Ballet elevates Cranko’s ‘Romeo & Juliet’," 16 Mar. 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for insolent

Middle English, from Latin insolent-, insolens unaccustomed, overbearing, from in- + solens, present participle of solēre to be accustomed; perhaps akin to Latin sodalis comrade — more at sib

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Time Traveler for insolent

Time Traveler

The first known use of insolent was in the 14th century

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Cite this Entry

“Insolent.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2021.

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More Definitions for insolent



English Language Learners Definition of insolent

somewhat formal : rude or impolite : having or showing a lack of respect for other people


in·​so·​lent | \ ˈin-sə-lənt How to pronounce insolent (audio) \

Kids Definition of insolent

: showing lack of respect for rank or authority

Other Words from insolent

insolently adverb

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Comments on insolent

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