noun re·bel·lion \ri-ˈbel-yən\

Definition of rebellion

  1. 1 :  opposition to one in authority or dominance

  2. 2a :  open, armed, and usually unsuccessful defiance of or resistance to an established governmentb :  an instance of such defiance or resistance

Examples of rebellion in a sentence

  1. The king's army suppressed the rebellion.

  2. The unfair tax laws sparked a rebellion.

  3. The peasants rose in rebellion.

  4. She's the head of a rebellion against the leaders of the party.

  5. Recent election losses have led to open rebellion among some party members, who are calling for a complete change of leadership.

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.

14th Century

First Known Use of rebellion

14th century

Synonym Discussion of 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

REBELLION Defined for English Language Learners


noun re·bel·lion \ri-ˈbel-yən\

Definition of rebellion for English Language Learners

  • : 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.

REBELLION Defined for Kids


noun re·bel·lion \ri-ˈbel-yən\

Definition of rebellion for Students

  1. 1 :  open opposition to authority The strict rules caused rebellion in their class.

  2. 2 :  an open fight by citizens against their government

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