Definitions

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

  • adj. Disagreeing, as in opinion or belief.
  • n. One who disagrees; a dissenter.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. In a manner that disagrees; dissenting; discordant; different.
  • n. A person who formally opposes the current political structure, opposes the political group in power, opposes the policies of the political group in power, or opposes current laws.
  • n. One who disagrees or dissents; one who separates from the established religion.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. No agreeing; dissenting; discordant; different.
  • n. One who disagrees or dissents; one who separates from the established religion.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Different; at variance.
  • Dissenting; not conforming; specifically, dissenting from an established church.
  • n. One who differs or dissents from others in regard to anything; especially, an opponent of or dissenter from a prevailing opinion, method, etc.
  • n. Specifically— A dissenter; one who separates from an established religion.
  • n. Especially— Under the old elective monarchy of Poland, when the established church was Roman Catholic, a Lutheran, Calvinist, Arminian, or adherent of the Greek Church, who was allowed the free exercise of his faith.

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

  • adj. disagreeing, especially with a majority
  • n. a person who dissents from some established policy
  • adj. characterized by departure from accepted beliefs or standards

Etymologies

Latin dissidēns, dissident-, present participle of dissidēre, to disagree : dis-, apart; see dis- + sedēre, to sit; see sed- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Latin dissidens, -entis, present participle of dissidere ("to sit apart, to disagree"); dis- + sedere to sit. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Mhlongo said that while he rejected the term dissident, which was how political opponents had been labelled in old-style Communist

    ANC Daily News Briefing

  • “Being a dissident is an honor” said one of my Georgian friends, when I told him the whole story.

    Global Voices in English » Azerbaijan: Citizen media in defense of detained activists, bloggers

  • It is mainly what they call dissident Mormons who are the racists, but they are major-league racists. mcl, have you heard the tapes of Warren Jeffs?

    Think Progress » Illegal Immigration Hardliner Mitt Romney Hires Undocumented Workers To Tend His Lawn

  • He is at once an architect, photographer, blogger and activist (he shuns the word "dissident") whose presence in Beijing is disproportionate to his (considerable) standing in the art world.

    latimes.com - News

  • STEVE INSKEEP, host: China's most prominent dissident is the winner of this year's Nobel Peace Prize.

    Chinese Dissident Wins Nobel Peace Prize

  • Murphy said the intent had always been there, but the capability within dissident groups to carry out bombings had increased, as was evident by recent bomb attacks such as that on Newry courthouse in February.

    Ireland's police chief warns of terror threat to mainland Britain

  • The European Parliament's prestigious human rights award, named after the great Soviet dissident, is now being used to stigmatize the Jewish state.

    Breaking What Silence?

  • I think the real problem for the hopes for an idyllic "post-wedge world" is that the lunatic fringe — the straight-out creationists and "wedgies" — will latch onto anything mildly dissident from the evolutionary view, in a desperate attempt to gain credibility.

    A Post-Wedge World

  • Interest in Brodsky was at its peak during the years of perestroika, when Western freedom values became hugely important for the intelligentsia and the long-term dissident Andrei

    openDemocracy

  • (Prior to that usage, it was principally applied to those religious people of conscience who refused allegiance to the established Catholic and Episcopalian churches, which ironically would perhaps qualify the word dissident as being "overwhelmingly Protestant.")

    Slate Magazine

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