- impatient of control, restraint, or delay, as persons; restless; uneasy.
- refractory; stubborn.
- refusing to go forward; balky: a restive horse.
Origin of restive
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for restive
The U.S. launched campaigns in the restive Iraqi city of Fallujah and a surge campaign in Baghdad.Pentagon Doesn’t Know How Many People It’s Killed in the ISIS War
Nancy A. Youssef
January 7, 2015
The U.S. military is finally starting to train Iraqi troops to fight ISIS in restive Anbar province.Pentagon Insider on New Plan to Fight ISIS: ‘Of Course It’s Not Enough’
Nancy A. Youssef
January 6, 2015
The great exception, of course, was Ireland, its most restive component.Wounds of World War I Have Yet to Heal
Michael F. Bishop
June 28, 2014
On Friday, the restive Ukrainian parliament, now dominated by her political allies, voted to free her.Yulia Tymoshenko: She's No Angel
February 23, 2014
Levinson pointed to the the SInai Peninsula, the restive swath of desert that links Israel to Egypt.The Egypt Crackdown and Israeli-Palestinian Talks
August 22, 2013
The horse was restive, looking over its shoulder at him, not liking what was going on.In the Midst of Alarms
Under all these restrictions the colonies were not as yet restive.The Siege of Boston
Many of them are nervous and restive, and not easily approached.Cattle and Their Diseases
Underneath it every horse was restive and every voice had an edge.The Long Roll
He dropped from the omnibus at the park entrance, where he found his restive mare.The Lure of the Mask
- restless, nervous, or uneasy
- impatient of control or authority
Word Origin and History for restive
early 15c., restyffe "not moving forward," from Middle French restif "motionless, brought to a standstill" (Modern French rétif), from rester "to remain" (see rest (n.2)). Sense of "unmanageable" (1680s) evolved via notion of a horse refusing to go forward.