boldly rude or disrespectful; contemptuously impertinent; insulting: an insolent reply.


an insolent person.

Origin of insolent

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin insolent- (stem of insolēns) departing from custom, equivalent to in- in-3 + sol- (stem of solēre to be accustomed) + -ent- -ent
Related formsin·so·lent·ly, adverbo·ver·in·so·lent, adjectiveo·ver·in·so·lent·ly, adverb

Synonyms for insolent Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for insolent

Contemporary Examples of insolent

Historical Examples of insolent

  • Sure nobody had ever so insolent, so hard-hearted a brother, as I have!

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • She is a vile girl, and has said a hundred insolent things to me.

  • I did not find myself indignant at this insolent idea of the Englishman's.

    In the Valley

    Harold Frederic

  • You have treated this family with disrespect; you have been insolent to this family.

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens

  • How dare you repeat so insolent a suspicion to my face, Roland Yorke?

    The Channings

    Mrs. Henry Wood

British Dictionary definitions for insolent



offensive, impudent, or disrespectful
Derived Formsinsolence, nouninsolently, adverb

Word Origin for insolent

C14: from Latin insolens, from in- 1 + solēre to be accustomed
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 insolent

late 14c., "contemptuous, arrogant, haughty," from Latin insolentem (nominative insolens) "arrogant, immoderate," literally "unusual," from in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + solentem, present participle of solere "be accustomed," which possibly is related to sodalis "close companion," and to suescere "become used to." Meaning "contemptuous of rightful authority" is from 1670s. Related: Insolently.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper