insurgent

noun
in·​sur·​gent | \ in-ˈsər-jənt \

Definition of insurgent

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a person who revolts against civil authority or an established government especially : a rebel not recognized as a belligerent
2 : one who acts contrary to the policies and decisions of one's own political party

insurgent

adjective

Definition of insurgent (Entry 2 of 2)

: rising in opposition to civil authority or established leadership : rebellious

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from insurgent

Adjective

insurgently adverb

Is insurgent a new word?

Insurgent is not a particularly novel coinage; it has been in use as both a noun and an adjective for well over 200 years. Appearances of the word began to spike in the early 21st century, however, due to a combination of factors (including the appearance of such combatants in conflicts and the desire among journalists to avoid words that might seem biased, such as terrorist or freedom fighter).

The definition of the noun, which includes the phrase “a rebel not recognized as a belligerent,” refers to a specific sense of belligerent: “belonging to or recognized as an organized military power protected by and subject to the laws of war.”

Examples of insurgent in a Sentence

Noun

Insurgents are trying to gain control of the country's transportation system. the government subjected the insurgents to the most inhuman torture imaginable

Adjective

any insurgent soldiers will be dealt with harshly
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Instead, and without intending to, the insurgents may actually save it. Joseph C. Sternberg, WSJ, "Saving Europe by Destroying It From Within," 14 Feb. 2019 The Taliban have not so far claimed either attack but the insurgents have recently stepped up assaults in both provinces and elsewhere in Afghanistan. Washington Post, "Afghan officials: Taliban kill at least 15 troops, 4 police," 12 July 2018 The second strike targeted government civil servants in Ghazni province, which lies to the southwest of Kabul and is a bastion for the Taliban insurgents. Sayed Salahuddin, BostonGlobe.com, "Fresh violence kills over 15 in Afghanistan as Islamic scholars debate Taliban war," 11 July 2018 The city’s Green Zone has been a frequent target for insurgents since the U.S. invasion in 2003. Dion Nissenbaum, WSJ, "White House Sought Options to Strike Iran," 13 Jan. 2019 Villagers have retaliated, killing two insurgents and displaying the severed arm of one of them, according to local reports last month. Christopher Torchia, The Seattle Times, "Opaque insurgency grinds on in gas-rich Mozambican region," 8 Jan. 2019 In the past thirty years, the Abrams tank has fought insurgents in cities and regular, mechanized armies and everyone in between, from the cities of Iraq to the mountain country of Afghanistan. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The Army’s Next 'Tank' Could Look Like Anything," 11 Oct. 2018 The partnering of United States forces with Sunni insurgents known as Sahwa, or the Awakening, against Al Qaeda in Iraq was a defining turning point in the war more than a decade ago. New York Times, "Anti-American Cleric’s Power Grows, Upending Pentagon’s Plans for Iraq," 17 May 2018 The snipers drew intense fire from insurgents during the mission and received an order to leave the area. Martin Kuz, San Antonio Express-News, "Returning to war to find peace of mind," 9 Feb. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

As some Democratic Party mainstays across the country fall to insurgent left-wing candidates, attention turns Thursday to Delaware, where a veteran senator faces a primary challenge from another political neophyte. Adam Shaw, Fox News, "Democratic senator in Delaware latest to face leftist primary challenger," 6 Sep. 2018 Those diplomatic efforts, which began in July, are being led by Zalmay Khalilzad, a former U.S. envoy to Afghanistan and Iraq, who has held talks with the insurgent group in the Gulf nation of Qatar. Saeed Shah, WSJ, "Top Taliban Commander Killed by U.S. Airstrike in Afghanistan," 2 Dec. 2018 Rohingya began fleeing into Bangladesh after Myanmar security forces launched a brutal crackdown following attacks by an insurgent group on guard posts in August 2017. Julhas Alam, The Seattle Times, "Bangladesh official: Rohingya repatriation ready to begin," 14 Nov. 2018 But the Shabab extremist group has carried out numerous attacks on the capital, and other insurgent groups including Al Qaeda have made gains in the country. Megan Specia, New York Times, "The Five Conflicts Driving the Bulk of the World’s Refugee Crisis," 19 June 2018 Too often, the rise of insurgent political parties and demagogues is viewed as the source of liberalism’s problems, rather than as a symptom. Casey Newton, The Verge, "A looming strike over Project Dragonfly is putting new pressure on Google," 30 Nov. 2018 In May, Summer Lee, who was endorsed by both the DSA and Our Revolution, ran for the Pennsylvania state legislature armed with that insurgent wish list. Rebecca Nelson, Marie Claire, "Party Crashers: These Female Candidates Are Shaking Up The Midterms," 2 Nov. 2018 The Trump administration quietly launched direct talks with the Taliban earlier this year as U.S. military efforts to blunt insurgent advances faltered. Dion Nissenbaum, WSJ, "U.S. Considers Asking Afghanistan to Suspend Presidential Election," 13 Nov. 2018 But his insurgent campaign style is unlikely to change. Josh Hoxie, Fortune, "What Ocasio-Cortez’s Win Says About the Rise of the Left," 27 June 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of insurgent

Noun

1765, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1807, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for insurgent

Noun

Latin insurgent-, insurgens, present participle of insurgere to rise up, from in- + surgere to rise — more at surge

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about insurgent

Statistics for insurgent

Last Updated

20 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for insurgent

The first known use of insurgent was in 1765

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for insurgent

insurgent

noun

English Language Learners Definition of insurgent

: a person who fights against an established government or authority

insurgent

noun
in·​sur·​gent | \ in-ˈsər-jənt \

Kids Definition of insurgent

: a person who revolts : rebel

insurgent

noun
in·​sur·​gent | \ in-ˈsər-jənt \

Legal Definition of insurgent

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a person who rises in revolt against civil authority or an established government especially : one not recognized as a belligerent
2 : one that acts contrary to the established leadership (as of a political party, union, or corporation) or its decisions and policies

insurgent

adjective

Legal Definition of insurgent (Entry 2 of 2)

: rising in opposition to civil or political authority or against an established government

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on insurgent

What made you want to look up insurgent? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

marked by fawning attentiveness

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!