unruly

[uhn-roo-lee]
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adjective, un·ru·li·er, un·ru·li·est.
  1. not submissive or conforming to rule; ungovernable; turbulent; intractable; refractory; lawless: an unruly class; an unruly wilderness.

Origin of unruly

1350–1400; Middle English unruely, equivalent to un- un-1 + ruly, ruely governable, controllable; see rule, -y1
Related formsun·ru·li·ness, noun

Synonyms for unruly

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disobedient, unmanageable, uncontrollable, stubborn, disorderly, riotous. Unruly, intractable, recalcitrant, refractory describe persons or things that resist management or control. Unruly suggests persistently disorderly behavior or character in persons or things: an unruly child, peevish and willful; wild, unruly hair. Intractable suggests in persons a determined resistance to all attempts to guide or direct them, in things a refusal to respond to attempts to shape, improve, or modify them: an intractable social rebel; a seemingly intractable problem in logistics. recalcitrant and refractory imply not only a lack of submissiveness but also an open, often violent, rebellion against authority or direction. Recalcitrant, the stronger of the two terms, suggests a stubborn and absolute noncompliance: a recalcitrant person, openly contemptuous of all authority. Refractory implies active, mulish disobedience, but leaves open the possibility of eventual compliance: refractory students, resisting efforts to interest them in their studies.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018


Examples from the Web for unruliness

Historical Examples of unruliness

  • So did a child, threatened for his unruliness with the revelation of the man with two heads.

    The Children

    Alice Meynell

  • Unruliness must have been tamed and regular attention secured.

    Outlines of Educational Doctrine

    John Frederick Herbart

  • He had shut his eyes to the man's unruliness and his daughter's intervention to free him; but now he was without pity.

  • A spirit of unruliness diffused itself among us and, under its influence, differences of culture and constitution were waived.

    Dubliners

    James Joyce

  • For the first few days of our journey, we suffered greatly from the unruliness of the camels.

    Southern Arabia

    Theodore Bent


British Dictionary definitions for unruliness

unruly

adjective -lier or -liest
  1. disposed to disobedience or indiscipline
Derived Formsunruliness, 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 unruliness

unruly

adj.

c.1400, from un- (1) "not" + obsolete ruly "amenable to rule." Related: Unruliness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper