[ res-tiv ]
/ ˈrɛs tɪv /


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

Origin of restive

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

Related forms

res·tive·ly, adverbres·tive·ness, noun

Can be confused

restful 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 Forms

restively, 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