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mu·​ti·​ny ˈmyü-tə-nē How to pronounce mutiny (audio)
plural mutinies
: forcible or passive resistance to lawful authority
especially : concerted (see concerted sense 1) revolt (as of a naval crew) against discipline or a superior officer
The sailors staged a mutiny and took control of the ship.
obsolete : tumult, strife


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mutinied; mutinying; mutinies

intransitive verb

: to rise against or refuse to obey or observe authority
He mutinied not just against God but against the older generation of Romanian intellectuals.Will Blythe
specifically, of soldiers, sailors, etc. : to rebel against military authority : to stage a mutiny
Months wore on, and about half of [Christopher] Columbus's men mutinied and tried to sail by canoe to Hispaniola. Owen Gingerich
In April 1779 a draft of sixty men from the 71st Highlanders mutinied when they were told they were to go to America and refused to march aboard the transports. Christopher Hibbert
Choose the Right Synonym for mutiny

rebellion, revolution, uprising, revolt, insurrection, mutiny mean an outbreak against authority.

rebellion implies an open formidable resistance that is often unsuccessful.

open rebellion against the officers

revolution applies to a successful rebellion resulting in a major change (as in government).

a political revolution that toppled the monarchy

uprising implies a brief, limited, and often immediately ineffective rebellion.

quickly put down the uprising

revolt and insurrection imply an armed uprising that quickly fails or succeeds.

a revolt by the Young Turks that surprised party leaders
an insurrection of oppressed laborers

mutiny applies to group insubordination or insurrection especially against naval authority.

a mutiny led by the ship's cook

Examples of mutiny in a Sentence

Noun The mutiny was led by the ship's cook. The sailors staged a mutiny and took control of the ship. Verb the party's conservative faction mutinied just before the election
Recent Examples on the Web
The Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin during his mutiny last summer had made Shoigu's removal his key demand. Patrick Reevell, ABC News, 13 May 2024 Last summer, the mercenary chief Yevgeny V. Prigozhin staged a mutiny to try to remove Mr. Shoigu, the defense minister for more than a decade. Anton Troianovski, New York Times, 12 May 2024 The story of the shipwreck of an 18th century British warship and a mutiny among the survivors. The California Independent Booksellers Alliance, Los Angeles Times, 8 May 2024 The extraordinary casualties on the Russian side, for example, could lead to mutinies, and if the war seems to be at an impasse for very long, a palace coup could install more accommodating leadership. Branislav L. Slantchev, Foreign Affairs, 1 Apr. 2024 Wagner mutiny Yevgeny Prigozhin was the founder of Russia’s Wagner private military group, which played a crucial role in Bakhmut. Sophie Tanno, CNN, 24 Feb. 2024 Last summer, the swift and demonstrative downing of a jet carrying Yevgeniy Prigozhin, the Wagner mercenary commander who led a mutiny against Russia’s military leadership, sent a chilling signal to any opponents of the Kremlin’s current course. Catherine Belton, Washington Post, 17 Feb. 2024 The House on Friday passed a $1.2 trillion spending bill to fund the government through September and avert a partial shutdown at the end of the week, setting off a G.O.P. mutiny that threatened Speaker Mike Johnson’s hold on his job. Catie Edmondson, New York Times, 22 Mar. 2024 After the aborted mutiny, the mercenary leader’s plane mysteriously fell out of the sky in August and he was subsequently confirmed to have died in the crash through genetic testing, Russian authorities said. Lauren Said-Moorhouse, CNN, 16 Feb. 2024
Within days, however, Congo’s troops mutinied against their all-white officer corps (a holdover from the colonial era) and started terrorizing the European population. Stephen R. Weissman, Foreign Affairs, 16 June 2014 After the officer in charge hanged one of the men, the crew mutinied, built their own ship, and sailed home, abandoning the fort some 11 months after their arrival. Shanti Menon, Discover Magazine, 11 Nov. 2019 Jackie Calmes: McCarthy flopped, Gaetz mutinied, but blame the chaos on the entire Republican Party. Helen Li, Los Angeles Times, 5 Oct. 2023 More recently, Tytler and his young wife, Harriet Tytler—she eight months pregnant, with two small children at her side—had narrowly escaped Delhi in 1857, when the sepoys, or Indian infantrymen, mutinied. Adam Goodheart, Smithsonian Magazine, 25 Sep. 2023 Facing an uncertain future, many Russians have moved their savings abroad since the outbreak of the war, transferring more than a billion dollars' worth in three days of national upheaval in late June, according to the central bank, when Wagner mercenaries mutinied against the military. Anatoly Kurmanaev, New York Times, 15 Aug. 2023 The United States, the United Nations, the European Union and regional bodies called on the mutinying soldiers to stand down. Declan Walsh, New York Times, 26 July 2023 Even before the Wagner mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin mutinied against Putin, this was a questionable assumption. Samuel Charap, Foreign Affairs, 13 July 2023 In February 1915, Indian soldiers mutinied in Singapore following rumors that they would soon be sent to Egypt to fight fellow Muslims of the Ottoman Empire. Adom Getachew, Foreign Affairs, 22 June 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'mutiny.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



mutine to rebel, from Middle French (se) mutiner, from mutin mutinous, from meute revolt, from Vulgar Latin *movita, from feminine of movitus, alteration of Latin motus, past participle of movēre to move

First Known Use


1540, in the meaning defined at sense 2


1584, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of mutiny was in 1540

Dictionary Entries Near mutiny

Cite this Entry

“Mutiny.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


mu·​ti·​ny ˈmyüt-ᵊn-ē How to pronounce mutiny (audio)
plural mutinies
: refusal to obey authority
especially : a military outbreak against the officer in charge
mutiny verb

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