adjective in·so·lent \ ˈin(t)-s(ə-)lənt \

Definition of insolent

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





Examples of insolent in a Sentence

  1. … 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 JeffersonNew York Times26 Oct. 1994
  2. Sweating, cursing the whole Mickey Mouse operation, they paced themselves with their own insolent complaints while the foreman cursed loudest … —Jayne Anne PhillipsGrantaSpring 1991
  3. 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. MichenerTexas1985
  4. Insolent behavior will not be tolerated.

  5. an appallingly insolent reply to a reasonable request

Recent Examples of insolent from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of 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

Synonym Discussion of 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

INSOLENT Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of insolent for English Language Learners

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

INSOLENT Defined for Kids


adjective in·so·lent \ ˈin-sə-lənt \

Definition of insolent for Students

: showing lack of respect for rank or authority



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