unruly

Unruly means lacking in restraint or not submitting to authority. Spitballs, shouting kids, a shouting teacher––these are all signs of an unruly classroom. Often, one unruly student is all it takes.

It's easy to see how un- "not" and ruly "rule" create a word that is all about not following rules. An unruly person refuses to obey authority, while an unruly piece of hair might refuse to stay inside a clip.

Definitions of unruly
1

adj unable to be governed or controlled

“the little boy's parents think he is spirited, but his teacher finds him unruly
Synonyms:
indocile, uncontrollable, ungovernable
difficult, unmanageable
hard to control

adj unwilling to submit to authority

unruly teenagers”
Synonyms:
disobedient
insubordinate
not submissive to authority

adj noisy and lacking in restraint or discipline

“an unruly class”
Synonyms:
boisterous, rambunctious, robustious, rumbustious
disorderly
undisciplined and unruly

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.