Synonyms & Antonyms of restive

1 given to resisting authority or another's control
  • the restive horse threw its head and refused to move when the rider urged it forward

Synonyms for restive

Words Related to restive

Near Antonyms for restive

Antonyms for restive

2 lacking or denying rest
  • spent a restive night worrying about the next day's exam

Synonyms for restive

Words Related to restive

Near Antonyms for restive

Antonyms for restive

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Frequently Asked Questions About restive

How does the adjective restive contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of restive are balky, contrary, perverse, and wayward. While all these words mean "inclined to resist authority or control," restive suggests unwillingness or inability to submit to discipline or follow orders.

tired soldiers growing restive

When would balky be a good substitute for restive?

The synonyms balky and restive are sometimes interchangeable, but balky suggests a refusing to proceed in a desired direction or course of action.

a balky witness

When can contrary be used instead of restive?

Although the words contrary and restive have much in common, contrary implies a temperamental unwillingness to accept orders or advice.

a contrary child

When is perverse a more appropriate choice than restive?

In some situations, the words perverse and restive are roughly equivalent. However, perverse may imply wrongheaded, determined, or cranky opposition to what is reasonable or normal.

a perverse, intractable critic

When could wayward be used to replace restive?

While the synonyms wayward and restive are close in meaning, wayward suggests strong-willed capriciousness and irregularity in behavior.

a school for wayward youths

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

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Cite this Entry

“Restive.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Oct. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on restive

Nglish: Translation of restive for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of restive for Arabic Speakers


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