[ res-tiv ]
/ ˈrɛs tɪv /


impatient of control, restraint, or delay, as persons; restless; uneasy.
refractory; stubborn.
refusing to go forward; balky: a restive horse.

Nearby words

  1. resting cell,
  2. resting place,
  3. resting tidal volume,
  4. restitute,
  5. restitution,
  6. restively,
  7. restless,
  8. restless cavy,
  9. restless legs syndrome,
  10. restlessly

Origin of restive

1375–1425; rest2 + -ive; replacing late Middle English restif stationary, balking < Old French: inert

Related formsres·tive·ly, adverbres·tive·ness, noun

Can be confusedrestful restive Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for restive

British Dictionary definitions for restive


/ (ˈrɛstɪv) /


restless, nervous, or uneasy
impatient of control or authority
Derived Formsrestively, adverbrestiveness, noun

Word Origin for restive

C16: from Old French restif balky, from rester to remain

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 restive



early 15c., restyffe "not moving forward," from Middle French restif "motionless, brought to a standstill" (Modern French rétif), from rester "to remain" (see rest (n.2)). Sense of "unmanageable" (1680s) evolved via notion of a horse refusing to go forward.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper