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See more synonyms for restive on Thesaurus.com
  1. impatient of control, restraint, or delay, as persons; restless; uneasy.
  2. refractory; stubborn.
  3. refusing to go forward; balky: a restive horse.
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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


See more synonyms for restive on Thesaurus.com
1. nervous, unquiet. 2. recalcitrant, disobedient, obstinate.


1. patient, quiet. 2. obedient, tractable.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for restiveness


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

Word Origin

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 restiveness



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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper