Definition of obstreperous
- obstreperous behavior
- an obstreperous child
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
a room full of obstreperous children
an obstreperous crowd protesting the government's immigration policy
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'obstreperous.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
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
: difficult to control and often noisy
What made you want to look up obstreperous? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).
Merriam-Webster's New Words Quiz—Fall 2017 Edition!
Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!TAKE THE QUIZ
Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.TAKE THE QUIZ