riot

noun
ri·​ot | \ ˈrī-ət \

Definition of riot

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 archaic

a : profligate behavior : debauchery
b : unrestrained revelry
c : noise, uproar, or disturbance made by revelers
2a : public violence, tumult, or disorder
b : a violent public disorder specifically : a tumultuous disturbance of the public peace by three or more persons assembled together and acting with a common intent
3 : a random or disorderly profusion the woods were a riot of color
4 : one that is wildly amusing the new comedy is a riot

riot

verb
rioted; rioting; riots

Definition of riot (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to indulge in revelry or wantonness
2 : to create or engage in a riot

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Other Words from riot

Verb

rioter noun

Synonyms for riot

Synonyms: Noun

hoot, knee-slapper, laugh, scream

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Examples of riot in a Sentence

Noun

The news about the election caused a riot in the city. A lot of property was damaged in the recent riots. The woods are a riot of color in the autumn. The movie was an absolute riot.

Verb

Students rioted after their team lost the football game.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy were assassinated; riots broke out across the country. Marissa Vonesh, Smithsonian, "How the Fourth of July Was Celebrated (and Protested) in 1968," 3 July 2018 In January 2017, riots broke out after gasoline prices soared. Rob Nikolewski, sandiegouniontribune.com, "What happens to Mexico's energy reform — and Sempra — if the presidential front runner wins?," 31 May 2018 Urban riots break out across the U.S. April 23: Students occupy offices at Columbia University until police storm the building a week later. Daniel Henninger, WSJ, "The Year Politics Collapsed," 30 May 2018 The army said riots broke out at five locations along the border. Jonathan Ferziger, Bloomberg.com, "Palestinians Seek Protection as Israel Blasts ‘Terrorist’ March," 1 Apr. 2018 Deadly riots are common in Venezuela's lawless prisons, where inmates often openly wield machine guns and use drugs. Author: Vivian Sequera, Tibisay Romero, Anchorage Daily News, "Outcry grows over Venezuela jail riot that killed at least 68," 29 Mar. 2018 After King’s death, riots and looting broke out across the country and calls for nonviolence were drowned out by the sounds of gunfire and water cannons. San Francisco Chronicle, "Dream had become a nightmare for MLK in the last year of his life," 28 Mar. 2018 Another theory is that the riots were not spontaneous but were caused by a foreign agent manipulating the people. Dug Begley, Houston Chronicle, "Commuter buses eye new routes as job sites spread out," 22 Mar. 2018 The riots could’ve easily been the tipping point, the moment N’Jobu decided that his people needed to do something. Briana Lawrence, The Root, "Can't We All Just Get Along? Black Panther Is Revisionist History," 19 Feb. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Downs was one of 18 inmates charged after prisoners at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center, Delaware’s maximum-security prison, rioted on Feb. 1 of last year, killing guard Steven Floyd and taking three other staffers hostage. Randall Chase, The Seattle Times, "Man called ‘mastermind’ of prison riot severed from trial," 30 Oct. 2018 Jennie Neufeld Why do prisoners strike or riot because of the 13th Amendment? Jennie Neufeld, Vox, "A mass incarceration expert says the 2018 prison strike could be “one of the largest the country has ever seen”," 22 Aug. 2018 All of this is going on as America seethes and riots over civil rights and the Vietnam War. George Petras, USA TODAY, "Story of Apollo 8's historic 1968 mission soars in Robert Kurson's fine 'Rocket Men'," 13 Apr. 2018 Many others physically assaulted their captors, rioted, and burned their sites of detention to the ground. Scott Stern, Teen Vogue, "How Capitalism Helped to Fuel the Mass Incarceration of Women," 25 June 2018 Hundreds of South African soccer fans disgruntled at the performance of their team rioted at a game on Saturday night. Gerald Imray, chicagotribune.com, "Hundreds of South African soccer fans riot at game," 22 Apr. 2018 Anger among residents there eventually erupted in the mid-1990s when thousands rioted on the largest island of French Polynesia, Tahiti, after a temporary stop on French tests was reversed. Rick Noack, Washington Post, "Shutting down North Korea’s test site is not as easy as it looks. Ask France, Britain and the U.S.," 24 May 2018 Then in 2017, mobs at Berkeley and Middlebury rioted against provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos and social scientist Charles Murray. Emily Esfahani Smith, WSJ, "A Movement Rises to Take Back Higher Education," 17 June 2018 Seen through this lens, 50 years after rioting left large portions of the city in ruin, the District is a great success story. Anthony A. Williams, Washington Post, "Washington has come far in 50 years, but is there a way to make it work for everyone?," 27 Mar. 2018

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

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for riot

Noun

Middle English, from Anglo-French riote rash action, noise, disorder

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Statistics for riot

Last Updated

18 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for riot

The first known use of riot was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for riot

riot

noun

English Language Learners Definition of riot

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a situation in which a large group of people behave in a violent and uncontrolled way

: a place that is filled with something

: someone or something that is very funny

riot

verb

English Language Learners Definition of riot (Entry 2 of 2)

of a group of people : to behave in a violent and uncontrolled way

riot

noun
ri·​ot | \ ˈrī-ət \

Kids Definition of riot

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : violent and uncontrolled public behavior by a group of people The news sparked a riot in the city.
2 : a colorful display a riot of wildflowers
3 : someone or something that is very funny The movie was a riot.

riot

verb
rioted; rioting

Kids Definition of riot (Entry 2 of 2)

: to take part in violent and uncontrolled public behavior

riot

noun
ri·​ot

Legal Definition of riot

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a disturbance of the peace created by an assemblage of usually three or more people acting with a common purpose and in a violent and tumultuous manner to the terror of the public also : the crime of rioting

Legal Definition of riot (Entry 2 of 2)

: to create or engage in a riot

Other Words from riot

rioter noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on riot

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with riot

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for riot

Spanish Central: Translation of riot

Nglish: Translation of riot for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of riot for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about riot

Comments on riot

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