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 when insurgents sprang out and surrounded them. Washington Post, "Nigerian children who escaped Boko Haram say they faced another ‘prison’: military detention," 14 Sep. 2019 Certain forces are reasserting control and freezing out the insurgents and rabble-rousers in advance of a critical election year. Alex Pareene, The New Republic, "ThinkProgress Was Always Doomed," 11 Sep. 2019 Al-Qaida insurgents used Afghanistan as a base from which to plan the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the United States. Deb Riechmann, chicagotribune.com, "U.S. is ‘getting close’ to deal with Taliban, will withdraw 5,000 soldiers from Afghanistan, Trump says," 30 Aug. 2019 More children were killed last year — 927 — than in any other over the past decade by all actors, the U.N. said, including in operations against insurgent hideouts carried out by international forces. Rahim Faiez, Anchorage Daily News, "Afghanistan vows to crush Islamic State havens after suicide bomber kills scores at wedding," 19 Aug. 2019 In February 2005, Ducich served as a battalion operations officer in Baghdad with the 1st Battalion, 184th Infantry Regiment, which was under near-constant attack from insurgents. Daniel Langhorne, Daily Pilot, "New Los Alamitos training base commander prepares for natural disasters, future conflicts," 31 July 2019 Bellavia’s platoon was tasked with clearing a compound and came under heavy fire by insurgents waiting to ambush them. Daniel Langhorne, latimes.com, "Medal of Honor recipient says not to underestimate millennials in the military," 12 July 2019 Spanish general Valeriano Weyler rounded up insurgents and held them in horrific conditions, leading some to credit him with the invention of modern civilian concentration camps. John Maxwell Hamilton, National Geographic, "In a battle for readers, two media barons sparked a war in the 1890s," 16 Apr. 2019 And so there's been a very close relationship between insurgents and global jihadists. CBS News, "Transcript: Michael Vickers talks with Michael Morell on "Intelligence Matters"," 28 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Zuzana Caputova, Slovakia’s new president, and Robert Biedron, an insurgent Polish opposition leader, are both keen environmentalists. The Economist, "Environmentalism is emerging as Europe’s new culture war," 29 June 2019 But as Zalmay Khalilzad flew into Kabul to brief the Afghan government on a peace deal, the insurgent group launched an attack on a second Afghan city in as many days. NBC News, "U.S. envoy says peace deal is near as Taliban attack another Afghan city," 1 Sep. 2019 India accuses Pakistan of training and arming insurgent groups that have been fighting since 1989 for Kashmir’s independence from India or its merger with Pakistan, a charge Islamabad denies. Washington Post, "Villagers tired of living dangerously along Kashmir frontier," 1 Sep. 2019 By 2005, the Taliban and other insurgent organizations had a foothold across Afghanistan. Donald C. Bolduc, Time, "I Served 10 Tours in Afghanistan. It’s Time for Us to Leave," 30 Aug. 2019 In August a bunch of insurgent groups calling itself the Northern Alliance Brotherhood launched bold and bloody attacks on police posts and bridges in Shan state and even an elite military academy in Myanmar’s heartland near Mandalay. The Economist, "A Chinese development scheme complicates Myanmar’s ethnic conflicts," 29 Aug. 2019 His government is openly frustrated at being sidelined from the US talks with the insurgent group, which regards the Afghan government as a US puppet. Rahim Faiez, BostonGlobe.com, "Afghanistan mourns, vows to crush militants after attack," 19 Aug. 2019 His government is openly frustrated at being sidelined from the U.S. talks with the insurgent group, which regards the Afghan government as a U.S. puppet. Rahim Faiez, Anchorage Daily News, "Afghanistan vows to crush Islamic State havens after suicide bomber kills scores at wedding," 19 Aug. 2019 All four New York House members are facing primary challenges from multiple insurgent candidates. Vivian Wang, New York Times, "House Democrats Prepare for Civil War as Challengers Plot Primary Battles," 19 July 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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Statistics for insurgent

Last Updated

18 Sep 2019

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 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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Comments on insurgent

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