insurgent

noun
in·​sur·​gent | \ in-ˈsər-jənt How to pronounce insurgent (audio) \

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

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In recent years, strife between the military and various ethnic insurgent groups has left hundreds dead and tens of thousands displaced. New York Times, "Myanmar’s Protests Are Growing, Defying Threats and Snipers," 22 Feb. 2021 The 429 package, which allows an insurgent to be killed in an air strike, must meet the legal requirements. Annie Jacobsen, Wired, "Palantir’s God’s-Eye View of Afghanistan," 20 Jan. 2021 Russia has used the deadly chemical polonium and a military-grade nerve agent against former security-service officers living in Britain, and gunned down a former insurgent from Chechnya in a Berlin park. Ned Temko, The Christian Science Monitor, "State-sponsored assassination: New tools, old questions," 10 Dec. 2020 Newman also had the support of Justice Democrats, the progressive insurgent group that backed Ocasio-Cortez's upset primary win in 2018. Marisa Schultz, Fox News, "Illinois Rep.-elect Marie Newman rejects socialism tag; tells GOP to 'get over it'," 6 Dec. 2020 Once again Brockhouse will present himself as a conservative insurgent, eager to depict Nirenberg as an insular know-it-all who doesn’t play well with his fellow council members and doesn’t listen to the concerns of small-business owners. Gilbert Garcia, ExpressNews.com, "Garcia: Nirenberg-Brockhouse mayoral rematch begins to take shape," 2 Dec. 2020 By publicizing the more left-leaning names first, Biden might be seeking to head off discontent from the Democratic Party’s insurgent left flank. NBC News, "Biden economic picks show early shape of administration's pandemic agenda," 1 Dec. 2020 The Islamist insurgent group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack. Washington Post, "World Digest: Nov. 27, 2020," 27 Nov. 2020 When the Marine stepped inside, one insurgent would shoot him while the other—who was hiding by the door—would drag him deep into the house. Elliott Ackerman, Wired, "A Navy SEAL, a Quadcopter, and a Quest to Save Lives in Combat," 30 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The majority were ascribed to non-government actors, predominately the insurgent Taliban, and more than one-fifth were attributed to government forces. NBC News, "Violence against Afghan civilians surged after Taliban-U.S. talks, U.N. report says," 23 Feb. 2021 The military is nervous about Beijing’s alleged backing for insurgent militia groups along the border, and has in the past stirred up anti-Chinese sentiment. Ann Scott Tyson, The Christian Science Monitor, "Why China may not be cheering Myanmar’s military takeover," 11 Feb. 2021 Women, intellectuals and political and religious figures, many of whom who were opposed to the policies of the Islamist insurgent groups that rose to power following the defeat of the Soviets in 1989, were detained or killed. New York Times, "Targeted Killings Are Terrorizing Afghans. And No One Is Claiming Them.," 2 Jan. 2021 That movement, which eventually hardened into a formidable coalition, has been rocked by insurgent waves over the decades; now Trump and his followers could once again refashion it into something very new. Kevin Mahnken, The New Republic, "Mitt Romney’s Party of One," 12 Feb. 2021 The threats to the future prosperity of the United States are multiple: the pandemic, near economic collapse, insurgent white-supremacist extremism and antidemocratic forces, and myriad systemic racial inequalities. Syreeta Mcfadden, The Atlantic, "What America Needs More Than ‘Unity’," 22 Jan. 2021 These are actions that allow for that individual to be moved out of civilian status and into insurgent status—to be targeted and killed legally according to army rules of engagement. Annie Jacobsen, Wired, "Palantir’s God’s-Eye View of Afghanistan," 20 Jan. 2021 Negotiations were off to a slow start as the insurgent group continues attacks on Afghan government forces while keeping their promise not to attack U.S. and NATO troops. NBC News, "Gunmen kill 2 female judges in Afghan capital, court official says," 17 Jan. 2021 In 2019, on the island of Basilan in the southern Philippines, Catholic teachers terrified by years of deadly insurgent activity joined in a seafood feast with a local Muslim leader. New York Times, "Conjuring Up the World Through the Sense of Taste," 2 Jan. 2021

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for insurgent

Time Traveler

The first known use of insurgent was in 1765

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Statistics for insurgent

Last Updated

2 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Insurgent.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/insurgent. Accessed 7 Mar. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce insurgent (audio) \

Kids Definition of insurgent

: a person who revolts : rebel

insurgent

noun
in·​sur·​gent | \ in-ˈsər-jənt How to pronounce insurgent (audio) \

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

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