Definition of obstreperous
- obstreperous behavior
- an obstreperous child
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a room full of obstreperous children
an obstreperous crowd protesting the government's immigration policy
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The handy Latin prefix ob-, meaning "in the way," "against," or "toward," occurs in many Latin and English words. "Obstreperous" comes from ob- plus strepere, a verb meaning "to make a noise," so someone who is obstreperous is literally making noise to rebel against something, much like a protesting crowd or an unruly child. The word has been used in English since around the beginning of the 17th century. "Strepere" has not played a role in the formation of any other notable English words, but "ob-" words abound; these include "obese," "obnoxious," "occasion," "offend," "omit," "oppress," and "oust."
First Known Use: circa 1600See Words from the same year
balky, contrary, contumacious, defiant, disobedient, froward, incompliant, insubordinate, intractable, rebel, rebellious, recalcitrant, refractory, restive, ungovernable, unruly, untoward, wayward, willful (or wilful);
adamant, adamantine, dogged, hardheaded, headstrong, immovable, implacable, inflexible, mulish, obdurate, obstinate, opinionated, peevish, pertinacious, pigheaded, rigid, self-willed, stubborn, unbending, uncompromising, unrelenting, unyielding;
: difficult to control and often noisy
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