re·​bel·​lion | \ ri-ˈbel-yən How to pronounce rebellion (audio) \

Definition of rebellion

1 : opposition to one in authority or dominance
2a : open, armed, and usually unsuccessful defiance of or resistance to an established government
b : an instance of such defiance or resistance

Choose the Right Synonym for rebellion

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

Did you know?

Plenty of teenagers rebel against their parents in all kinds of ways. But a rebellion usually involves a group. Armed rebellions are usually put down by a country's armed forces, or at least kept from expanding beyond a small area. The American War of Independence was first viewed by the British as a minor rebellion that would soon run its course, but this particular rebellion led to a full-fledged revolution--that is, the overthrow of a government. Rebellion, armed or otherwise, has often alerted those in power that those they control are very unhappy.

Examples of rebellion in a Sentence

The king's army suppressed the rebellion. The unfair tax laws sparked a rebellion. The peasants rose in rebellion. She's the head of a rebellion against the leaders of the party. Recent election losses have led to open rebellion among some party members, who are calling for a complete change of leadership.
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Recent Examples on the Web That success is attributed by reviewers to the series’ period flare, sumptuous sets, sweeping score and geographic sweep, as well as its central story of a woman’s rebellion against the mores of her time and empowerment. John Hopewell, Variety, 12 Jan. 2022 The actor famously starred in the trilogy as Morpheus, a leader within humanity’s rebellion against the Sentinels and Neo’s number one fan. Ineye Komonibo,, 11 Jan. 2022 At one point, there was a rebellion in that cave, and everyone inside escaped and hid deep in the jungle; some of their descendants still live in the village. Meredith Carey, Condé Nast Traveler, 25 Dec. 2021 There was a rebellion from below within Free America. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, 29 June 2021 To me, pleasure and joy are the ultimate rebellion. New York Times, 28 June 2021 Punk rock is rebellious, but religious life is the ultimate rebellion. Matthew Carey Salyer, Forbes, 6 June 2021 There has been rebellion from some rural sheriffs, but no recalls now., 24 Mar. 2021 In the meantime, the rebellion has pushed up prices and sales of Pudgy Penguin NFTs, which have languished in recent months. Olga Kharif,, 8 Jan. 2022

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for rebellion

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The first known use of rebellion was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

23 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Rebellion.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for rebellion



English Language Learners Definition of rebellion

: an effort by many people to change the government or leader of a country by the use of protest or violence
: open opposition toward a person or group in authority
: refusal to obey rules or accept normal standards of behavior, dress, etc.


re·​bel·​lion | \ ri-ˈbel-yən How to pronounce rebellion (audio) \

Kids Definition of rebellion

1 : open opposition to authority The strict rules caused rebellion in their class.
2 : an open fight by citizens against their government

More from Merriam-Webster on rebellion

Nglish: Translation of rebellion for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of rebellion for Arabic Speakers


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