[ si-dish-uhn ]
/ sɪˈdɪʃ ən /


incitement of discontent or rebellion against a government.
any action, especially in speech or writing, promoting such discontent or rebellion.
Archaic. rebellious disorder.



Are you learning new vocabulary? Or do you just have an interest in words? Either way, this quiz is for you.
Question 1 of 10

Origin of sedition

1325–75; < Latin sēditiōn- (stem of sēditiō), equivalent to sēd- se- + -itiōn- a going (it(us), past participle of īre to go + -iōn- -ion); replacing Middle English sedicioun < Anglo-French < Latin, as above

synonym study for sedition

1. See treason.


an·ti·se·di·tion, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020


What does sedition mean?

Sedition is the act of encouraging rebellion against the government, or an action that promotes such rebellion, such as through speech or writing.

What’s the difference between treason and sedition? Treason typically refers to a direct action to overthrow or betray one’s government, whereas sedition usually falls short of direct action and instead involves the promotion of revolutionary or treasonous actions. Legally, sedition is typically considered a less serious offense than treason.

Example: His statements amount to nothing less than sedition—he’s actively trying to incite a rebellion against the government.

Where does sedition come from?

The first records of sedition in English come from the late 1300s. It ultimately comes from the Latin sēditiō, meaning “discord,” from sēd-, meaning “apart,” and itiō, meaning “a going.”

The goal of sedition is typically to promote discord between the government and the people in order to start a rebellion that overthrows the government. Obviously, governments don’t like the idea of sedition and sometimes pass laws against it. In the history of the United States, there have been two notable sedition acts passed, and both were repealed. The first came in 1798 as part of the Alien and Sedition Acts, which restricted the political activities of people who sympathized with French revolutionaries, most notably criticism of Congress or the president. The acts were either repealed or allowed to expire in the early 1800s. The Sedition Act of 1918 targeted those who opposed the nation’s entry into World War I. It made it illegal to do things like insult the government or military or protest against the war effort. It was repealed in 1921. Sedition laws such as these are often considered to be in conflict with protections of free speech.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to sedition?

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

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

How is sedition used in real life?

The word sedition is typically used in political and legal contexts.



Try using sedition!

True or False? 

Sedition is the same as treason.

Example sentences from the Web for sedition

British Dictionary definitions for sedition

/ (sɪˈdɪʃən) /


speech or behaviour directed against the peace of a state
an offence that tends to undermine the authority of a state
an incitement to public disorder
archaic revolt

Derived forms of sedition

seditionary, noun, adjective

Word Origin for sedition

C14: from Latin sēditiō discord, from sēd- apart + itiō a going, from īre to go
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

Cultural definitions for sedition


Acts that incite rebellion or civil disorder against an established government.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.