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[dih-fahy-uh nt] /dɪˈfaɪ ənt/
characterized by defiance; boldly resistant or challenging:
a defiant attitude.
Origin of defiant
1830-40; < French défiant, Old French, present participle of defier to defy; see -ant
Related forms
defiantly, adverb
defiantness, noun
half-defiant, adjective
half-defiantly, adverb
nondefiant, adjective
nondefiantly, adverb
nondefiantness, noun
overdefiant, adjective
overdefiantly, adverb
overdefiantness, noun
quasi-defiant, adjective
quasi-defiantly, adverb
undefiant, adjective
undefiantly, adverb
insubordinate, contumacious, refractory, recalcitrant, rebellious, insolent; daring.
obedient. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for defiant
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The day closed with the men of Thomas still grim and defiant.

    The Rock of Chickamauga Joseph A. Altsheler
  • He quitted the room, and Annabel ran after him, laughing and defiant still.

    The Channings Mrs. Henry Wood
  • Lena nodded and went out, shutting the door with a defiant swing.

    The Green Satin Gown Laura E. Richards
  • There was a defiant note in her voice, and Massachusetts looked at her with surprise.

    The Green Satin Gown Laura E. Richards
  • He looked as defiant, indeed, as if he had heard bullets whizzing past him.

    His Masterpiece Emile Zola
British Dictionary definitions for defiant


marked by resistance or bold opposition, as to authority; challenging
Derived Forms
defiantly, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for defiant

1837, from French défiant, present participle of défier (see defy). Related: Defiantly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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