- not submissive or conforming to rule; ungovernable; turbulent; intractable; refractory; lawless: an unruly class; an unruly wilderness.
Origin of unruly
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
disobedient, unmanageable, uncontrollable, stubborn, disorderly, riotous. Unruly, intractable, recalcitrant, refractory describe persons or things that resist management or control. Unruly suggests persistently disorderly behavior or character in persons or things: an unruly child, peevish and willful; wild, unruly hair. Intractable suggests in persons a determined resistance to all attempts to guide or direct them, in things a refusal to respond to attempts to shape, improve, or modify them: an intractable social rebel; a seemingly intractable problem in logistics. recalcitrant and refractory imply not only a lack of submissiveness but also an open, often violent, rebellion against authority or direction. Recalcitrant, the stronger of the two terms, suggests a stubborn and absolute noncompliance: a recalcitrant person, openly contemptuous of all authority. Refractory implies active, mulish disobedience, but leaves open the possibility of eventual compliance: refractory students, resisting efforts to interest them in their studies.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for unruliness
So did a child, threatened for his unruliness with the revelation of the man with two heads.The Children
Unruliness must have been tamed and regular attention secured.Outlines of Educational Doctrine
John Frederick Herbart
He had shut his eyes to the man's unruliness and his daughter's intervention to free him; but now he was without pity.The World For Sale, Complete
A spirit of unruliness diffused itself among us and, under its influence, differences of culture and constitution were waived.Dubliners
For the first few days of our journey, we suffered greatly from the unruliness of the camels.Southern Arabia
- disposed to disobedience or indiscipline
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
Word Origin and History for unruliness
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper