[ ri-bel-yuhn ]
/ rɪˈbɛl yən /
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open, organized, and armed resistance to one's government or ruler.
resistance to or defiance of any authority, control, or tradition.
the act of rebelling.
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Origin of rebellion

1300–50; Middle English rebellioun<Old French <Latin rebelliōn- (stem of rebelliō), equivalent to rebell(āre) to rebel + -iōn--ion


non·re·bel·lion, nounpre·re·bel·lion, adjectivesem·i·re·bel·lion, nounsub·re·bel·lion, noun


rebellion , revolt, revolution

Words nearby rebellion

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021


What does rebellion mean?

A rebellion is an attempt to overthrow a government—an organized revolution.

It can also refer to a revolt against another form of authority. More generally, rebellion can refer to an action or behavior that resists or defies rules or norms or otherwise challenges the status quo.

The verb rebel means to engage in rebellion. As a noun, rebel can refer to a revolutionary or to a person who is defiant or disobedient. Such a defiant person can be called rebellious, and the noun rebelliousness refers to such behavior. Rebellion can also refer to this, as in I went through a phase of teenage rebellion.

Example: The rebellion is being led by a coalition of factions that all have the same goal—to topple the regime.

Where does rebellion come from?

The first records of the word rebellion come from the 1300s. It is derived from the Latin bell(um), which means “war” and is also the root of war-related words like antebellum, belligerent, and bellicose.

To rebel is to make war against something you disagree with or refuse to conform to. In its most traditional sense, rebel literally means to wage war against a government or other form of rule in order to overthrow it. When multiple people participate in this kind of act, it is called a rebellion. Rebellion is commonly used as a synonym for revolution, but the word rebellion is perhaps more commonly used when it’s in progress, whereas revolution is used to refer to a successful rebellion.

More generally, a person who challenges the established rules or the way things are is engaging in rebellion. Acts of rebellion often reject the status quo, regardless of society’s restrictions or expectations.

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What are some other forms of rebellion?

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What are some words that share a root or word element with rebellion


What are some words that often get used in discussing rebellion?


How is rebellion used in real life?

Rebellion is commonly used in reference to people attempting to overthrow a government, but it can be used in many other contexts.



Try using rebellion!

Is rebellion used correctly in the following sentence?

Signs of rebellion among the stockholders have been growing since the last earnings report was released.

How to use rebellion in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for rebellion

/ (rɪˈbɛljən) /

organized resistance or opposition to a government or other authority
dissent from an accepted moral code or convention of behaviour, dress, etc

Word Origin for rebellion

C14: via Old French from Latin rebelliō revolt (of those conquered); see rebel
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