from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The act or an example of defying; bold resistance to an opposing force or authority.
  • noun Intentionally contemptuous behavior or attitude; readiness to contend or resist.
  • idiom (in defiance of) In spite of; contrary to.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Suspicion; mistrust.
  • noun The act of one who defies; a challenge to fight; an invitation to combat; a call to an adversary to fight if he dare.
  • noun A challenge to meet in any contest; a call upon one to make good any assertion or charge; an invitation to maintain any cause or point.
  • noun Contempt of opposition or danger; a daring or resistance that implies contempt of an adversary, or disregard of any opposing force: as, he pressed forward in defiance of the storm.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The act of defying, putting in opposition, or provoking to combat; a challenge; a provocation; a summons to combat.
  • noun A state of opposition; willingness to flight; disposition to resist; contempt of opposition.
  • noun obsolete A casting aside; renunciation; rejection.
  • noun to defy; to disregard recklessly or contemptuously.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun The feeling, or spirit of being defiant.

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

  • noun intentionally contemptuous behavior or attitude
  • noun a hostile challenge
  • noun a defiant act


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

[Middle English defiaunce, from Old French desfiance, from desfier, to defy; see defy.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French defiance from défiant (present participle of défier).


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word defiance.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • The H.M.S. Defiance was listed as a "vessel belonging to the army" (British army), captured at Yorktown in 1781.

    October 29, 2007

  • A small town in Ohio, USA.

    January 2, 2008

  • Didn't that contest-winning lady come from Defiance?

    January 2, 2008

  • Which contest?

    January 2, 2008

  • The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio:

    prizewinner lady

    January 2, 2008

  • Thanks sionnach. I finally caught up with this. Neatly written piece, too.

    June 21, 2008

  • Q: What's the difference between a lawyer and a rooster?

    A: Every morning the rooster wakes up and clucks defiance.

    June 21, 2008