[dih-fahy-uh ns]
See more synonyms for defiance on
  1. a daring or bold resistance to authority or to any opposing force.
  2. open disregard; contempt (often followed by of): defiance of danger; His refusal amounted to defiance.
  3. a challenge to meet in combat or in a contest.
  1. bid defiance to, to offer resistance; defy.
  2. in defiance of, in spite of; notwithstanding: There was a splendid audience in defiance of the rainstorm.

Origin of defiance

1250–1300; Middle English < Old French, equivalent to defi(er) to defy + -ance -ance
Related formsnon·de·fi·ance, nounpre·de·fi·ance, noun


[dih-fahy-uh ns]
  1. a city in NW Ohio. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for defiance


  1. open or bold resistance to or disregard for authority, opposition, or power
  2. a challenging attitude or behaviour; challenge
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 defiance

c.1300, from Old French desfiance "challenge, declaration of war," from desfiant, present participle of desfier (see defy).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with defiance


see in defiance of.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.