defiance

Stand up when the powers that be order you to sit down, and you've given a fine example of defiance. It happens when someone or a group of someones openly flouts or challenges authority.

Refusing to go to bed when your parents tell you to? That's an act of defiance. Defiance comes from French — specifically to the Old French word defier, which means "to defy." (Don't mix it up with deify; that means to make someone or something into a god.) If you've ever studied Latin, you'll spot the fi in fidare, "to trust."

Definitions of defiance
  1. noun
    a hostile challenge
    see moresee less
    type of:
    challenge, gauntlet
    a call to engage in a contest or fight
  2. noun
    a defiant act
    see moresee less
    type of:
    resistance
    group action in opposition to those in power
  3. noun
    intentionally contemptuous behavior or attitude
    synonyms: rebelliousness
    see moresee less
    types:
    insubordination
    defiance of authority
    obstreperousness
    noisy defiance
    type of:
    intractability, intractableness
    the trait of being hard to influence or control
Word Family
EDITOR’S CHOICE

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by Vocabulary.com’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.

SAT/PSAT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

TOEFL

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

ACT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week