from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- adj. Difficult or impossible to discipline, control, or rule.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- adj. wild; uncontrolled
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- adj. Not submissive to rule; disregarding restraint; disposed to violate; turbulent; ungovernable; refractory
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- Disposed to resist rule or lawful restraint, or to violate laws laid down; lawless; turbulent; ungovernable; refractory; disorderly; tumultuous: as, an unruly child.
- Not according to rule; irregularly.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- adj. of persons
- adj. noisy and lacking in restraint or discipline
- adj. unwilling to submit to authority
Middle English unreuli : un-, not; see un-1 + reuli, easy to govern (from reule, rule; see rule).(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English unruly ("unquiet, restless"), interpreted as un- + rule + -ly (compare Middle English ruly, reuli ("subject to a religious rule, regular")), but also representing a modified continuation of earlier Middle English unrouly, unroly ("unquiet, restless"), equivalent to un- + roolie. The latter is perhaps from or influenced by an Old Norse word related to Danish urolig ("restless"), Swedish orolig ("restless"), Icelandic óróleg ("agitated"). Compare also Middle English unroo, unro ("unrest"). More at roo. (Wiktionary)