riot

noun
ri·​ot | \ ˈrī-ət How to pronounce riot (audio) \

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

The struggle over Brexit has all but paralyzed the U.K. French President Emmanuel Macron’s popularity continued to plummet amid weeks of destructive street riots. William A. Galston, WSJ, "Democracy Could Bounce Back in 2019," 31 Dec. 2018 The scars of the riots of the previous August were fresh. Greg Borowski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Editor's Note: A look at Milwaukee 50 years after death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.," 23 Mar. 2018 The famous bar was the site of the Stonewall riots in 1969, which set off a series of demonstrations by the LGBTQ community. Sarah Spellings, The Cut, "Cynthia Nixon Invites ‘Unqualified Lesbians’ to Campaign Launch Party at Stonewall Inn," 21 Mar. 2018 But with that striped denim coat, St. Vincent helped prove that no matter how many years go by, riot grrrl edge will remain timeless. Rachel Hahn, Vogue, "St. Vincent Is Producing Sleater-Kinney’s New Album and Has Riot Grrrl Style Down Pat," 8 Jan. 2019 During the riots last weekend, fires were started in at six buildings and in 112 vehicles, and a number of stores were looted. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "The Eiffel Tower and the Louvre Plan to Close Amid Protests in Paris," 7 Dec. 2018 Likewise, my invisible tiara was on my head during the riot outside my dormitory a few nights later, when a demonstrator threw a brick through my window. Zoey Grossman; Fashion Editor: Cassie Anderson, Harper's BAZAAR, "Uzo Aduba, Katie Holmes & Ieshia Evans Reenact Iconic Images of Social Change," 20 Nov. 2018 The riots were sparked when police shot and killed a suspect as part of an investigation of gun violence in London’s black community. Karla Adam, Washington Post, "Keep your heads down, U.S. embassy warns Americans ahead of London Trump visit," 11 July 2018 Connecting each of the storylines is what appears to be a series of interrogations, where each of the girls are being asked to share information about who is to blame for the riot from last season. Stephen Daw, Billboard, "The Inmates Are Out of Litchfield & All Maxed Out in New 'Orange Is the New Black' Season 6 Trailer: Watch," 9 July 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

15 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

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
informal : 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 How to pronounce riot (audio) \

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

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