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

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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

The morning attack on a busy education office building in the crowded provincial capital left several dozen officials and visitors trapped for hours while insurgents and security forces exchanged gunfire, officials and witnesses said. Sayed Salahuddin, BostonGlobe.com, "Spate of attacks in eastern Afghanistan marks push by Islamic State militants," 11 July 2018 The fight between armed insurgents and the military, which began in the late 1980s, has caused tens of thousands of deaths of civilians, security forces and militants. Krishna Pokharel, WSJ, "Ruling Coalition Collapses in Kashmir," 19 June 2018 As cease-fires by the government and the Taliban took hold, security forces and insurgents celebrated and took pictures together for the Muslim festival of Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan. New York Times, "Deadly Blast Punctures Afghanistan’s Brief Moment of Peace," 16 June 2018 But traces of the horrific clashes between the Turkish army and insurgents of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which claimed thousands of lives nationwide in 2015 and 2016, are easy to find. The Economist, "A jailed Kurdish leader could sway Turkey's elections," 9 June 2018 As the president described it that evening, his new strategy for ending the war would be straightforward and brutal: more troops, more airstrikes, more dead insurgents and less interference from Washington. Greg Jaffe, Anchorage Daily News, "Imperfect answers: A JBER soldier was killed in action, and his parents ask why," 27 May 2018 Russians resume airstrikes in Syria, war monitor says: Russian airstrikes against insurgents in southwest Syria have resumed, residents and a war monitor say, after a rebel said talks to restore government rule there peacefully had failed. Washington Post, "World Digest: July 4, 2018," 4 July 2018 Moscow’s annexation of Crimea and support for separatist insurgents in eastern Ukraine were topics on which the journalist was scathingly critical of the Kremlin. Nataliya Vasilyeva, BostonGlobe.com, "Russian journalist reported killed in Ukraine shows up to news conference," 30 May 2018 Syria's government offensive to retake the province of Daraa from insurgents, which began on June 19, has displaced some 330,000 people, many of them heading to the border with Jordan that refused to allow refugees to cross. The Christian Science Monitor, "Some Syrians return home although risks remain," 9 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

After an insurgent group known as the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) launched several early morning attacks on state security forces on Aug. 25, 2017, the Myanmar military carried out brutal reprisals targeting Rohingya civilians. Casey Quackenbush, Time, "Myanmar Military Officials Implicated in Crimes Against Humanity for Role in Rohingya Violence," 28 June 2018 By 2008, the security situation in much of the country had deteriorated and insurgent attacks began to mount. NBC News, "U.S. effort to stabilize Afghanistan a $5 billion failure, says watchdog," 24 May 2018 Since 2003, the U.S. has increasingly fought insurgent forces that don't have tanks, and tanks are unsuited to counter-insurgency operations like those in Afghanistan. Matthew Moss, Popular Mechanics, "The Evolution of the American Tank," 12 Feb. 2018 Kaufman finds some hope in the insurgent Democratic candidacy of Randy Bryce, a former ironworker and union activist, who ran to unseat Republican Speaker Paul Ryan from Wisconsin’s First Congressional District. Jennifer Szalai, New York Times, "How Conservatives Bet Big on Wisconsin and Won," 11 July 2018 House Democrat defeated by progressive insurgent Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, was seen by many in the caucus as Pelosi’s heir apparent. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "Dems face big loss, big opportunity with Kavanaugh," 10 July 2018 Late last fall, Hopkins — who lives in Jersey City — raised about $50,000 from small donors for an insurgent challenge to Menendez. Will Bunch, Philly.com, "Voters wanted a revolution. How'd they get stuck with corrupt Bob Menendez? | Will Bunch," 7 June 2018 The fervent euroskepticism of Europe’s insurgent movements may strike many voters as a second-best alternative to a more convincing mainstream right. Joseph C. Sternberg, WSJ, "Finding the Right Right for Europe," 5 July 2018 Case in point: the shocking victory on Tuesday by an insurgent primary candidate in New York, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who had made abolishing ICE a part of her platform. New York Times, "How ‘Abolish ICE’ Went From Social Media to Progressive Candidates’ Rallying Cry," 29 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.

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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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Statistics for insurgent

Last Updated

16 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for insurgent

The first known use of insurgent was in 1765

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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 \

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

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Comments on insurgent

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