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[in-suh-luh nt] /ˈɪn sə lənt/
boldly rude or disrespectful; contemptuously impertinent; insulting:
an insolent reply.
an insolent person.
Origin of insolent
1350-1400; Middle English < Latin insolent- (stem of insolēns) departing from custom, equivalent to in- in-3 + sol- (stem of solēre to be accustomed) + -ent- -ent
Related forms
insolently, adverb
overinsolent, adjective
overinsolently, adverb
1. brazen; contemptuous. See impertinent. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for insolent
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Sure nobody had ever so insolent, so hard-hearted a brother, as I have!

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9) Samuel Richardson
  • She is a vile girl, and has said a hundred insolent things to me.

  • I did not find myself indignant at this insolent idea of the Englishman's.

    In the Valley Harold Frederic
  • You have treated this family with disrespect; you have been insolent to this family.

    Little Dorrit Charles Dickens
  • How dare you repeat so insolent a suspicion to my face, Roland Yorke?

    The Channings Mrs. Henry Wood
British Dictionary definitions for insolent


offensive, impudent, or disrespectful
Derived Forms
insolence, noun
insolently, adverb
Word Origin
C14: from Latin insolens, from in-1 + solēre to be accustomed
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 insolent

late 14c., "contemptuous, arrogant, haughty," from Latin insolentem (nominative insolens) "arrogant, immoderate," literally "unusual," from in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + solentem, present participle of solere "be accustomed," which possibly is related to sodalis "close companion," and to suescere "become used to." Meaning "contemptuous of rightful authority" is from 1670s. Related: Insolently.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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