Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Rising in revolt against established authority, especially a government.
  • adj. Rebelling against the leadership of a political party.
  • n. One who is insurgent.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Rebellious, opposing authority.
  • n. A rebel, guerrilla, freedom fighter.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Rising in opposition to civil or political authority, or against an established government; insubordinate; rebellious.
  • n. A person who rises in revolt against civil authority or an established government; one who openly and actively resists the execution of laws; a rebel.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Rising against lawful authority or established government; engaged in insurrection or rebellion: as, insurgent chiefs.
  • n. One who rises in forcible opposition to lawful authority; one who engages in armed resistance to a government or to the execution of laws.
  • n. Synonyms Insurgent, Rebel, Traitor. An insurgent differs from a rebel chiefly in degree. The insurgent opposes the execution of a particular law or scheme of laws, or the carrying out of some particular measure, or he wishes to make a demonstration in favor of some measure or to express discontent; the rebel attempts to overthrow or change the government, or he revolts and attempts to place his country under another jurisdiction. A traitor is one who breaks faith or trust by betraying his country or violating his allegiance, especially a sworn allegiance: the word is applied in strong reprobation to one who, even without express breach of faith, makes war upon his sovereign or country, or goes over from the side to which his loyalty is due. See insurrection.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a person who takes part in an armed rebellion against the constituted authority (especially in the hope of improving conditions)
  • adj. in opposition to a civil authority or government
  • n. a member of an irregular armed force that fights a stronger force by sabotage and harassment

Etymologies

Latin īnsurgēns, īnsurgent-, present participle of īnsurgere, to rise up : in-, intensive pref.; see in-2 + surgere, to rise; see surge.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin īnsurgentem, accusative singular of īnsurgēns, present active participle of īnsurgō ("I rise up against, revolt"), from in ("against") + surgō ("I rise"), itself from sub ("up from below") + regō ("I guide, direct, rule, govern, administer"), from Proto-Indo-European *reg- (“to move in a straight line, to rule, guide, lead straight, put right”). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SENIOR MILITARY AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice - over): If you needed a lesson in civilian control of the military, Donald Rumsfeld gave it at Tuesday's Pentagon press briefing, when he suddenly pronounced the term insurgent expression non grata.

    CNN Transcript Nov 29, 2005

  • Obeid said the Khartoum government is constitutionally mandated to protect residents of Southern Kordofan from what he calls insurgent rebels.

    Sudanese Government Dismisses Leaked UN Report

  • NATO said one service member was killed Friday in what it described as an insurgent attack.

    NYT > Home Page

  • But the timing of the meeting was unrelated to this week's spike in insurgent attacks, and politicians gave no sign they were ready to overcome the eight-month political impasse, during which the security situation has deteriorated.

    Iraqis Mourn, Plan Political Session

  • And finally, we know that the ratio of ISAF to Taliban insurgent is about 50 to 1 in kills when they do go toe to toe.

    Taliban To Attack Kandahar? Not Likely « Unambiguously Ambidextrous

  • American offices in Afghanistan admitted to me that they used the word insurgent in all their reports to describe any kind of hostile shooting.

    CNN Transcript Mar 29, 2009

  • The U.S. uses the word insurgent for every gun fired in anger.

    CNN Transcript Mar 27, 2009

  • American officers in Afghanistan admitted to me that they use the word insurgent in all their reports to describe any kind of hostile shooting.

    CNN Transcript Mar 29, 2009

  • The insurgent is trained to expect brutal treatment upon capture.

    Balkinization

  • In fact, the only accurate definition of the cause of deaths for the Iraqis who have been killed, whether civilian or insurgent, is “murder”.

    Think Progress » Caught on Tape: Bush Admits WMD Were Irrelevant

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