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[ri-bel-yuh s] /rɪˈbɛl yəs/
defying or resisting some established authority, government, or tradition; insubordinate; inclined to rebel.
pertaining to or characteristic of rebels or rebellion.
(of things) resisting treatment; refractory.
Origin of rebellious
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English < Medieval Latin rebelliōsus, equivalent to Latin rebelli(ō) rebellion + -ōsus -ous
Related forms
rebelliously, adverb
rebelliousness, noun
half-rebellious, adjective
half-rebelliously, adverb
half-rebelliousness, noun
nonrebellious, adjective
nonrebelliously, adverb
nonrebelliousness, noun
quasi-rebellious, adjective
quasi-rebelliously, adverb
semirebellious, adjective
semirebelliously, adverb
semirebelliousness, noun
unrebellious, adjective
unrebelliously, adverb
unrebelliousness, noun
1. defiant, insurgent, mutinous, seditious, rebel, refractory, disobedient, contumacious. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for rebelliously
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • She felt a thrill of pleasure, and rebelliously allowed it to exist.

    A Pair of Blue Eyes Thomas Hardy
  • "Mr. Green knows all about me," said Mr. Widden, rebelliously.

  • "I don't like the idea of an untrained maid, at all," said Dolly rebelliously.

    Living on a Little

    Caroline French Benton
  • To some, to some brought up in different traditions, perhaps, I said rebelliously.

    The Wasted Generation Owen Johnson
  • "I will try to obey, Father," the young man replied, rebelliously.

    Mariposilla Mary Stewart Daggett
  • "I should like to know how you would have had Dan bear it," she said rebelliously.

    April Hopes William Dean Howells
  • Brangstar, as if warned of what was coming, rebelliously gave the signal.

    The Salamander Owen Johnson
  • Mowitza, rebelliously impatient, was led riderless by Kalitan.

    Told In The Hills Marah Ellis Ryan
  • "I have to say what I think sometimes," Pauline replied, rebelliously.

    Plashers Mead Compton Mackenzie
British Dictionary definitions for rebelliously


showing a tendency towards rebellion
(of a problem, etc) difficult to overcome; refractory
Derived Forms
rebelliously, adverb
rebelliousness, noun
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 rebelliously



early 15c., from Latin rebellis (see rebel (adj.)) + -ous. Related: Rebelliously; rebelliousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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