defying or resisting some established authority, government, or tradition; insubordinate; inclined to rebel.
pertaining to or characteristic of rebels or rebellion.
(of things) resisting treatment; refractory.

Origin of rebellious

1400–50; late Middle English < Medieval Latin rebelliōsus, equivalent to Latin rebelli(ō) rebellion + -ōsus -ous
Related formsre·bel·lious·ly, adverbre·bel·lious·ness, nounhalf-re·bel·lious, adjectivehalf-re·bel·lious·ly, adverbhalf-re·bel·lious·ness, nounnon·re·bel·lious, adjectivenon·re·bel·lious·ly, adverbnon·re·bel·lious·ness, nounqua·si-re·bel·lious, adjectivequa·si-re·bel·lious·ly, adverbsem·i·re·bel·lious, adjectivesem·i·re·bel·lious·ly, adverbsem·i·re·bel·lious·ness, nounun·re·bel·lious, adjectiveun·re·bel·lious·ly, adverbun·re·bel·lious·ness, noun

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

Examples from the Web for rebellious

Contemporary Examples of rebellious

Historical Examples of rebellious

  • Tillie, afraid of her rebellious spirit, went to prayer meeting.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • She could not bear that hurt, rebellious, lonely look which they had worn.

  • At last it lost its power, and could not help her in checking her rebellious thoughts.

    The Dream

    Emile Zola

  • The governor, a coward or a traitor, rendered thee to the rebellious crowd.

    Leila, Complete

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton

  • To bring it from its haughty, rebellious pedestal, down to cordiality and love.

    The Channings

    Mrs. Henry Wood

British Dictionary definitions for rebellious



showing a tendency towards rebellion
(of a problem, etc) difficult to overcome; refractory
Derived Formsrebelliously, adverbrebelliousness, 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 rebellious

early 15c., from Latin rebellis (see rebel (adj.)) + -ous. Related: Rebelliously; rebelliousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper