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verb (used with or without object)
  1. to neglect or refuse to obey.
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Origin of disobey

1350–1400; Middle English disobeien < Old French desobeir, equivalent to des- dis-1 + obeir to obey
Related formsdis·o·bey·er, noun


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Examples from the Web for disobey

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • It is ever thus, when we disobey the gods, to please mortals.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • You do not know him; but I can tell you he is not a man to disobey as I have disobeyed him.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • But we insisted, especially Fenton; and he is difficult to disobey.

    It Happened in Egypt

    C. N. Williamson

  • He no more dared to disobey him than he could have disobeyed the head-master.

    The Channings

    Mrs. Henry Wood

  • "Disobey those orders and take in my card," said the Princess.

British Dictionary definitions for disobey


  1. to neglect or refuse to obey (someone, an order, etc)
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Derived Formsdisobeyer, 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

Word Origin and History for disobey


late 14c., from Old French desobeir (13c.) "disobey; refuse service or homage," from Vulgar Latin *disoboedire, reformed with dis- from Late Latin inobedire, a back-formation from inobediens "not obeying," from Latin in- "not" + present participle of obedire (see obey). Related: Disobeyed; disobeying.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper