mu·​ti·​ny | \ ˈmyü-tə-nē How to pronounce mutiny (audio) , ˈmyüt-nē \
plural mutinies

Definition of mutiny

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : 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.
2 obsolete : tumult, strife


mutinied; mutinying; mutinies

Definition of mutiny (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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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.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun John Garang de Mabior leads a mutiny of army soldiers, reigniting the civil war. Cnn Editorial Research, CNN, "Sudan Fast Facts," 3 May 2021 The outcry represents a muted but widespread mutiny among the American diplomatic corps, the first so far of Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken’s tenure. Lara Jakes, New York Times, "On the Front Lines of Diplomacy, but at the Back of the Line for a Vaccine," 24 Feb. 2021 The optimism long-driving our journey only partially ended when our legs threatened mutiny. Steve Meyer, Anchorage Daily News, "Leaving your gun on the toilet and other misadventures in hunting and shooting," 20 Mar. 2021 The ship suffered a mutiny in 1789, which was popularized in a Hollywood movie featuring actor Marlon Brando in 1962. Adela Suliman, NBC News, "Sailor survives 14 hours in Pacific clinging to fishing buoy after falling overboard," 25 Feb. 2021 Polls suggest that Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, who saved her spot as the No. 3 Republican in the House this week despite a small mutiny over her support to impeach former President Donald Trump, is in deep trouble back home. Paul Bedard, Washington Examiner, "What are the odds Liz Cheney loses? Poor," 5 Feb. 2021 The intervention that kicked off the mutiny among his top staffers occurred when Paxton brought in an outside lawyer over their objections to probe Paul’s accusations against the FBI. Lauren Mcgaughy, Dallas News, "Whistleblower lawsuit filed against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton," 13 Nov. 2020 An August military mutiny overthrew the civilian government. Abraham Mahshie, Washington Examiner, "COVID slows Army’s effort to assist terrorist fight in Africa," 4 Nov. 2020 Forbidden to play reindeer games after a wild snowball breaks the window of the boss’ office, Comet, Blitzen and the gang mutiny, destroying Santa’s sleigh in the process — right on Christmas Eve. Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times, "Our TV critic imagines the plot of 26 holiday movies based on the title alone," 25 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'mutiny.' 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 mutiny


1540, in the meaning defined at sense 2


1584, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for mutiny


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

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Last Updated

7 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Mutiny.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for mutiny



English Language Learners Definition of mutiny

: a situation in which a group of people (such as sailors or soldiers) refuse to obey orders and try to take control away from the person who commands them


mu·​ti·​ny | \ ˈmyü-tə-nē How to pronounce mutiny (audio) \
plural mutinies

Kids Definition of mutiny

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a turning of a group (as of sailors) against a person in charge
2 : refusal to obey those in charge


mutinied; mutinying

Kids Definition of mutiny (Entry 2 of 2)

: to try to take control away from a person in charge The sailors were preparing to mutiny.

More from Merriam-Webster on mutiny

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