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

Woodland Alliance, a swelling insurgency The Woodland Alliance are the insurgents of Root. Charlie Theel, Ars Technica, "Root is a terrific—and fully asymmetric—woodland wargame," 29 Sep. 2018 Ghani had asked for a conditional cease-fire with Taliban insurgents on Sunday for the duration of the Eid al-Adha holiday. Benjamin Brown, Fox News, "Rockets fired from Taliban land near presidential palace in Kabul, US Embassy," 21 Aug. 2018 His nuclear diplomacy with North Korea finished for the moment, Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo made a previously unannounced visit to Afghanistan on Monday and offered support for the Kabul government’s peace talks with Taliban insurgents. Tracy Wilkinson, latimes.com, "Pompeo makes surprise stop in Afghanistan and says Trump's policy there is working," 9 July 2018 The insurgents ambushed the police vehicle and fired RPGs. New York Times, cleveland.com, "Trump should win Nobel Peace Prize, says South Korea president," 30 Apr. 2018 Security lapses, threats by insurgents, geographic isolation and government corruption are among the problems that have scuttled previous attempts to develop the mineral resources in the country. Jessica Donati, WSJ, "Trump Push Yields Copper, Gold Deals in Afghanistan," 5 Oct. 2018 Since 2014 the Afghan National Security Forces have taken the lead in the war against insurgents, with the U.S. and NATO providing support, back-up and training. Rahim Faiez And Amir Shah, Fox News, "Taliban attack Afghan security forces in north, killing 37," 10 Sep. 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, which refused to allow refugees to cross. BostonGlobe.com, "Thousands who fled recent fighting in Syria return home," 8 July 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. Washington Post, "Thousands who fled recent fighting in Syria return home," 8 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

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 Orban's move further toward the political extremes has also been tactical, Bíró-Nagy said, and an attempt to outflank the controversial, insurgent far-right party Jobbik. NBC News, "Hungary's Viktor Orban set to extend rule after embracing far-right," 8 Apr. 2018 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

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

11 Dec 2018

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

a nest or breeding place

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

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!