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 That is a concession to Ankara’s concerns about the Syrian militia’s deep links to Kurdish insurgents in southeastern Turkey. Los Angeles Times, "News Analysis: Russian and Syrian troops take the place of Kurdish forces in key cities," 23 Oct. 2019 Turkey considers the Kurdish fighters terrorists because of their links to Kurdish insurgents in Turkey. Greg Norman | Fox News, Fox News, "Russian military forces move into Syria to help Turkey keep Kurds away from border," 23 Oct. 2019 Turkey considers the fighters terrorists, because of their links to Kurdish insurgents inside Turkey. NBC News, "Turkey, Russia agree to clear Kurdish fighters and control the Syria-Turkey border," 22 Oct. 2019 Turkey considers the fighters terrorists, because of their links to Kurdish insurgents inside Turkey. Suzan Fraser, chicagotribune.com, "Russia’s Putin, Turkey’s Erdogan meet in Sochi to discuss conflict on Syrian border," 22 Oct. 2019 An Iranian Kurdish militant group, also accused of links to Kurdish insurgents in Turkey, operates there. Washington Post, "The Latest: Turkish soldier killed by shots fired from Iran," 18 Oct. 2019 In an era when voters turn to insurgents to wrest power from unaccountable bureaucracies, voters have no way to do the same in Brussels. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Europe’s Missing Vote," 27 Dec. 2018 It is also plagued by roadside bombs planted by insurgents, which are usually intended for security forces but often kill and wound civilians. Fox News, "The Latest: Suicide bomb hits Shiite area in Kabul, kills 1," 15 Aug. 2018 Esper's speech amounted to a statement of his top strategic priority: to make China and Russia the main focus of U.S. defense planning, shifting from the insurgent wars of recent decades in the Middle East and Afghanistan. CBS News, "Defense Secretary Mark Esper cautions allies against cozying up to China," 6 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Iraq declared victory against IS two years ago, but the group continues to stage insurgent-type attacks across the country, particularly in northern Iraq. Washington Post, "5 Italian soldiers wounded by roadside explosion in Iraq," 10 Nov. 2019 Many pundits assumed the heart attack was a death knell for a campaign dependent on the candidate’s insurgent energy, and early polling bore that out. BostonGlobe.com, "“Getting a little tired, but you would too,” Sanders practically yelled, lifting his arms for a shrug as the voters in front of him laughed and cheered. “I’m feeling good.”," 8 Nov. 2019 In a forthcoming book Jenna Jordan of the Georgia Institute of Technology examines over 1,000 cases involving the killing or capture of leaders of terrorist or insurgent groups. The Economist, "Islamic State after the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi," 2 Nov. 2019 Russian and Chinese forces will often operate near or at the same level technologically as the Navy and Marines, a major change from lightly armed insurgent adversaries encountered during the post-9/11 period. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The Marines Are Changing the Way They Do Business," 10 Oct. 2019 Trump is hoping to replicate the dynamics that allowed him to capture the Republican Party and then the presidency in 2016 as an insurgent intent on disrupting the status quo. Anchorage Daily News, "Trump rehashes gripes, rips ‘radical’ Dems in 2020 launch," 19 June 2019 Trump is hoping to replicate the dynamics that allowed him to capture the Republican Party and then the presidency in 2016 as an insurgent intent on disrupting the status quo. Michael Schneider, Twin Cities, "Trump rehashes gripes, rips ‘radical’ Dems in 2020 launch," 18 June 2019 President Donald Trump captured the Republican Party and then the presidency in 2016 as an insurgent intent on disrupting the status quo. Jonathan Lemire, Fortune, "Trump Is Selling Himself as a Rebel for 2020," 18 June 2019 President Donald Trump captured the Republican Party and then the presidency in 2016 as an insurgent intent on disrupting the status quo. Jonathan Lemire, chicagotribune.com, "Trump is announcing his reelection bid tonight. Can he still run as an outsider?," 18 June 2019

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

13 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Insurgent.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/insurgent. Accessed 22 November 2019.

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More Definitions for insurgent

insurgent

noun
How to pronounce insurgent (audio)

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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