un·​ruly | \ ˌən-ˈrü-lē How to pronounce unruly (audio) \
unrulier; unruliest

Definition of unruly

: not readily ruled, disciplined, or managed an unruly crowd a mane of unruly hair

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Other Words from unruly

unruliness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for unruly

unruly, ungovernable, intractable, refractory, recalcitrant, willful, headstrong mean not submissive to government or control. unruly implies lack of discipline or incapacity for discipline and often connotes waywardness or turbulence of behavior. unruly children ungovernable implies either an escape from control or guidance or a state of being unsubdued and incapable of controlling oneself or being controlled by others. ungovernable rage intractable suggests stubborn resistance to guidance or control. intractable opponents of the hazardous-waste dump refractory stresses resistance to attempts to manage or to mold. special schools for refractory children recalcitrant suggests determined resistance to or defiance of authority. acts of sabotage by a recalcitrant populace willful implies an obstinate determination to have one's own way. a willful disregard for the rights of others headstrong suggests self-will impatient of restraint, advice, or suggestion. a headstrong young cavalry officer

Examples of unruly in a Sentence

unruly pupils were given detention as a matter of course a camp that was known as a place where unruly youths were given their last chance to shape up
Recent Examples on the Web But without the glue of presidential candidacies, the new congress may be unruly. The Economist, "Peru’s president opens Pandora’s box," 10 Oct. 2019 Without help, teachers become frustrated and classrooms are disrupted and demoralized by unruly behavior. Nina Agrawal, Los Angeles Times, "California schools can no longer suspend K-8 students for using phones. Will this help or hurt learning?," 1 Oct. 2019 The two were turned over to family members and will be filed on in juvenile court for unruly behavior. cleveland.com, "Residents don’t like Jet’s delivery driver speeding like a jet: Mayfield Police Blotter," 29 Aug. 2019 The Evening Tribune had published a story by Sports Writer Rick Smith the previous year, and a series of Letters to the Editor published in The Union had both protested and defended the unruly behavior of tournament participants. San Diego Union-Tribune, "From the Archives: Over-the-Line a singular sport," 7 July 2019 But unlike at a hotel, no concierge will be on-site to keep the unruly ones in line. Ronda Kaysen, New York Times, "Can I Stop My Neighbor From Running an Airbnb?," 21 Apr. 2018 The artificial geometry of roads and waste-storage pads stands out from the organic undulations and gradient washes of the desert, although the two blend together in sites of intensive activity, where human drivers left behind their unruly tracks. Max Norman, The New Yorker, "Emmet Gowin’s Tender Photography of Nuclear Destruction," 7 Nov. 2019 In Hoboken, the problem has gotten so bad that the city has had to hire two officers whose job is to police unruly riders. Patrick Mcgeehan, New York Times, "Riding While Drunk and Other Dangers of the Electric Scooter Craze," 6 Nov. 2019 Authorities in some parts of Europe have bounced around the idea of using either facial or voice recognition to keep tabs on unruly soccer fans, such as those participating in racist chants. Matt O’brien, Houston Chronicle, "Concert promoters turn away from facial recognition tech," 1 Nov. 2019

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

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for unruly

Middle English unreuly, from un- + reuly disciplined, from reule rule

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Time Traveler for unruly

Time Traveler

The first known use of unruly was in the 15th century

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Statistics for unruly

Last Updated

28 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Unruly.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unruly. Accessed 11 December 2019.

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More Definitions for unruly


How to pronounce unruly (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of unruly

disapproving : difficult to control


un·​ruly | \ ˌən-ˈrü-lē How to pronounce unruly (audio) \
unrulier; unruliest

Kids Definition of unruly

: difficult to control unruly hair

Other Words from unruly

unruliness noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on unruly

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for unruly

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with unruly

Spanish Central: Translation of unruly

Nglish: Translation of unruly for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of unruly for Arabic Speakers

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heavy with or as if with moisture

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