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 Earlier this month, the Islamist insurgent group seized Dahla dam, Afghanistan’s second-biggest and an essential source of irrigation and drinking water. Los Angeles Times, 26 May 2021 After all, Spotify’s the insurgent working to wrestle dominance away from Apple, and then there’s the whole thing about the audio-streaming app still being pretty much beholden to Apple’s app governance. Nicholas Quah, Vulture, 27 Apr. 2021 The plan is a last-ditch attempt to stave off a deadly summer insurgent offensive and stabilize the battlefield as the last American forces leave — if the Taliban are willing to come back to the table. New York Times, 21 Apr. 2021 The cause helped sell the war to Americans who cringed at the sight of a B-52 carpet bombing insurgent positions. Thomas Gibbons-neff, Star Tribune, 18 Apr. 2021 While rural, landless populations—such as the followers of guerrilla insurgent Augusto Sandino in Nicaragua in the 1920s—would occasionally rise up in popular resistance, more often than not these uprisings were suppressed in violent conflicts. Julia G. Young, Time, 31 Mar. 2021 Pope Francis’s homily at Mass in Erbil was delivered from Franso Hariri Stadium, named for the Christian governor of Erbil who was killed in 2001 by an Islamist insurgent group that would later merge with ISIS. Andrew Bernard, Washington Examiner, 11 Mar. 2021 Two of them, Jabari Brisport and Julia Salazar, identify with the state Democratic Party’s insurgent left wing. Nicholas Rowan, Washington Examiner, 10 Mar. 2021 In recent years, strife between the military and various ethnic insurgent groups has left hundreds dead and tens of thousands displaced. New York Times, 22 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Violence in the country has escalated in recent days as various insurgent groups have begun to clash with the country’s military forces. Siladitya Ray, Forbes, 18 May 2021 And yet here are women, writing books, forcing their perspectives into the light, and proving what potent, insurgent art can be made in the process. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, 20 May 2021 Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid denied any insurgent connection to the mosque attack, condemning it and accusing Afghanistan's intelligence agency of being behind the explosion. Tameem Akhgar, Star Tribune, 14 May 2021 Across the region, negotiations hold hope, Mr. Savadogo insists, if they are conducted with smaller, local insurgent factions rather than with hard-liners leading transnational networks. Shola Lawal, The Christian Science Monitor, 29 Apr. 2021 Balochistan is home to a bevy of insurgent groups—including Islamists and separatists—who fiercely oppose Chinese infrastructure projects. Time, 22 Apr. 2021 Déby was reelected largely on the promise of restoring peace and security to a country gripped by years of violence instigated by insurgent groups. BostonGlobe.com, 20 Apr. 2021 Before formally announcing his insurgent campaign, Jones, who is one of the former president's most prominent Black supporters, was teasing a run for governor for weeks. Quinn Scanlan, ABC News, 16 Apr. 2021 Over the years, various insurgent groups and militias have used women to smuggle explosives and weapons, in order to elude the radar of security forces. Brice Laine, CNN, 7 Apr. 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

6 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Insurgent.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/insurgent. Accessed 15 Jun. 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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