re·bel·lion | \ ri-ˈbel-yən \

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

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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

His ravishing story quilts inspired by the Nat Turner slave rebellion of 1831 are showcased through Sept. 2 in the Baltimore Museum of Art, will travel to Los Angeles and were praised in The New York Times. Mary Carole Mccauley,, "Artists explore American identity in Sondheim Artscape Prize exhibit," 21 June 2018 Then came drugs, societal rebellion, and Dr. Reich., "Kylie Jenner, Crystals & Cults: Inside The Mysterious Orgonite Society," 13 July 2018 While Washington succeeded in putting down the rebellion, the stage was set for generations' worth of resentment toward the federal government and its burdensome, unfair taxation on distilled spirits. Alan Ashe, CNN, "It's National Moonshine Day. We answer your questions," 7 June 2018 The most obvious associations with black metal are antisocial rebellion, Satanism, burning churches and the campy side with the face paint. Saby Reyes-kulkarni, Billboard, "Manuel Gagneux Enjoys 'Blasphemizing the Blasphemy' With Zeal & Ardor," 4 June 2018 During Bradley’s two years in Egypt the country endured rebellion, revolution and a counter-revolution, with the promise of the Arab Spring giving way to a dark, cold winter. Kevin Baxter,, "World Cup Group A: Bob Bradley laid foundation for Egypt's first trip to World Cup in 28 years," 4 June 2018 From Harry Potter's Cho Chang, to Sense8's Sun Bak to Sun on LOST, there have been instances where hair color was not used to create a sense of rebellion, strength, or intrigue. Lynsey Eidell, Allure, "Internet Wants "Western Media" to Stop Giving Asian Characters Neon Hair Streaks," 24 May 2018 In this moment, the movie attempts to redefine consumption and consumerism as rebellion, which is something a greedy tech corporation might do. Gary Thompson,, "'Ready Player One': Why did Spielberg's new blockbuster bum me out so much?," 28 Mar. 2018 The county board rescinded that tax after a grassroots rebellion, which was largely underwritten by Big Soda. Ben Joravsky, Chicago Reader, "Politics Let’s make Pritzker and Rauner pay more—a lot more—in state income taxes," 20 Mar. 2018

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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Statistics for rebellion

Last Updated

12 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for rebellion

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

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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 \

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

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Comments on rebellion

What made you want to look up rebellion? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the setting in which something occurs

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