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

  • n. A wild or turbulent disturbance created by a large number of people.
  • n. Law A violent disturbance of the public peace by three or more persons assembled for a common purpose.
  • n. An unrestrained outbreak, as of laughter or passions.
  • n. A profusion: The garden was a riot of colors in August.
  • n. Unrestrained merrymaking; revelry.
  • n. Debauchery.
  • n. Slang An irresistibly funny person or thing: Isn't she a riot?
  • intransitive v. To take part in a riot.
  • intransitive v. To live wildly or engage in uncontrolled revelry.
  • transitive v. To waste (money or time) in wild or wanton living: "rioted his life out, and made an end” ( Tennyson).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Wanton or unrestrained behavior; uproar; tumult.
  • n. The tumultuous disturbance of the public peace by an unlawful assembly of three or more persons in the execution of some private object.
  • n. Excessive and expensive feasting; wild and loose festivity; revelry.
  • v. To create or take part in a riot.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Wanton or unrestrained behavior; uproar; tumult.
  • n. Excessive and exxpensive feasting; wild and loose festivity; revelry.
  • n. The tumultuous disturbance of the public peace by an unlawful assembly of three or more persons in the execution of some private object.
  • intransitive v. To engage in riot; to act in an unrestrained or wanton manner; to indulge in excess of luxury, feasting, or the like; to revel; to run riot; to go to excess.
  • intransitive v. To disturb the peace; to raise an uproar or sedition. See Riot, n., 3.
  • transitive v. To spend or pass in riot.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To act in a wanton and disorderly manner; rouse a tumult or disturbance; specifically, to take part in a riot (see riot, n., 2), or outbreak against the public peace.
  • To be in a state of disorder or confusion; act irregularly.
  • To revel; run to excess in feasting, drinking, or other sensual indulgences; act in an unrestrained or wanton manner.
  • To throw into tumult or confusion; disturb; harass; annoy.
  • To indulge in pleasure or sensual enjoyment; satiate: used reflexively.
  • To pass in riot; destroy or put an end to by riotous living: with out.
  • n. A disturbance arising from wanton and disorderly conduct; a tumult; an uproar; a brawl.
  • n. Specifically In law, an unlawful assembly which has actually begun to execute the purpose for which it assembled by a breach of the peace, and to the terror of the public, or a lawful assembly proceeding to execute an unlawful purpose. A riot cannot take place unless three persons at least are present. Stephen. Compare rout, 4, and unlawful assembly (under unlawful).
  • n. A luxurious and loose manner of living; boisterous and excessive festivity; revelry.
  • n. Confusion; a confused or chaotic mass; a jumble; a medley.
  • n. To grow luxuriantly, wildly, or in rank abundance.
  • n. Synonyms and Mutiny, Sedition, etc. See insurrection, quarrel.

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

  • v. take part in a riot; disturb the public peace by engaging in a riot
  • n. a joke that seems extremely funny
  • n. a state of disorder involving group violence
  • n. a public act of violence by an unruly mob
  • v. engage in boisterous, drunken merrymaking
  • n. a wild gathering involving excessive drinking and promiscuity


Middle English, from Old French, dispute, from rioter, to quarrel, perhaps from ruire, to roar, from Latin rūgīre.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)


  • This doesn't allow the police to make blanket requests-such as information about everyone in a particular area at a particular time, or everyone messaging the word "riot"-but it does mean that such evidence can be acquired about individuals identified in other ways CCTV, for example.

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  • "I think the term riot is a dangerous term to throw around," Freeman said. - SPORTS

  • On New York Times, a series of pictures showing the riot is also criticized as catering to stereotypes and distorting facts.

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  • But in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard.

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  • Conference of Catholic Bishops, challenging what it calls a riot of laughable errors in the book and in the movie.

    CNN Transcript May 18, 2006

  • The Duke of York and Earl of Salisbury set forth to repress what they called a riot, probably unaware of the numbers who were daily joining the Queen.

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  • Saying it was not time to "pussyfoot around" with the lawbreakers, he said he would begin a three-month consultation on ways to deal with what he called "riot tourism," focusing on scrapping a rule that allows for the eviction from subsidized housing of people who commit crimes in their own neighborhoods in favor of a broader measure that would allow for similar punishment wherever the offenses were committed.

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  • But Community Secretary Eric Pickles is planning a 12-week consultation on whether powers should be extended to allow councils to punish those convicted of what he called "riot tourism" in other areas.

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  • - Your right to assembly can be violated if the police believe a "riot" is underway.

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  • I had never used the word riot in a sentence before in my life, and didn’t know that that was what we had just seen.

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