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

  • noun Open, armed, and organized resistance to a constituted government.
  • noun An instance of this.
  • noun Defiance toward an authority or established convention.
  • noun An instance of this.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun War waged against a government by some part of its subjects; armed opposition to a government by a party of citizens, for the purpose of changing its composition, constitution, or laws; insurrectionary or revolutionary war.
  • noun The act of rebelling or taking part in a rebellious movement; open or armed defiance to one's government; the action of a rebel.
  • noun Hence Revolt against or defiance of authority in general; resistance to a higher power or to an obligatory mandate; open disobedience or insubordination; determination not to submit.
  • noun Synonyms Sedition, Revolt. etc. See insurrection.

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

  • noun The act of rebelling; open and avowed renunciation of the authority of the government to which one owes obedience, and resistance to its officers and laws, either by levying war, or by aiding others to do so; an organized uprising of subjects for the purpose of coercing or overthrowing their lawful ruler or government by force; revolt; insurrection.
  • noun Open resistance to, or defiance of, lawful authority.
  • noun (Eng. Law) a process of contempt issued on the nonappearance of a defendant, -- now abolished.

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

  • noun uncountable Armed resistance to an established government or ruler.
  • noun countable Defiance of authority or control; the act of rebeling.
  • noun countable An organized, forceful subversion of the law of the land in an attempt to replace it with another form of government.

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

  • noun refusal to accept some authority or code or convention
  • noun organized opposition to authority; a conflict in which one faction tries to wrest control from another


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

[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin rebelliō, rebelliōn-, from rebellāre, to rebel; see rebel.]


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  • The express language of it is: 'By virtue of the power in me vested as commander-in-chief of the army and navy of the United States in time of actual armed rebellion against the authority and Government of the United States, and as a _fit and necessary war measure for suppressing said rebellion_.'

    The Continental Monthly, Vol 6, No 5, November 1864 Devoted To Literature And National Policy Various

  • The term rebellion can never be properly applied to the conduct of a State, acting (through a convention) in its sovereign capacity.

    The Two Rebellions; or, Treason Unmasked. 1865

  • States in seceding as they did, (through regular conventions,) makes the term rebellion inapplicable to their conduct.

    The Two Rebellions; or, Treason Unmasked. 1865

  • It even gets better, as Locke explains the term rebellion:

    The Virtuous Republic 2009

  • Doctors Tourniquet and Lancelot retired in disgust, menacing something like a general pestilence, in vengeance of what they termed rebellion against the neglect of the aphorisms of

    The Surgeon's Daughter 2008

  • And as long as the rebellion is active, it will have to be checked, just as the Kikuyu revolt in Kenya had to be checked.

    The Algerian Issue 1958

  • I promise you never henceforth to offend your cause except in that mere woman's sympathy with what you call rebellion, for which women are not so much as banished by you -- or if they are, then banish me!

    The Cavalier George Washington Cable 1884

  • When the battle was over, Samuel came to meet him, and rebuked him as if he had been a child for what he called rebellion and stubbornness.

    Miriam's Schooling and Other Papers Mark Rutherford 1872

  • First the help of the Romans was asked and readily given; then in return a tribute was demanded and paid; then the Romans would meddle with the government, till their interference became intolerable, and there was a rising against it, which they called rebellion; then they sent an army, and ruined the nation for ever.

    The Chosen People A Compendium of Sacred and Church History for School-Children Charlotte Mary Yonge 1862

  • Doctors Tourniquet and Lancelot retired in disgust, menacing something like a general pestilence, in vengeance of what they termed rebellion against the neglect of the aphorisms of Hippocrates.

    The Surgeon's Daughter Walter Scott 1801


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  • 'All rebellion begins in isolation.' -Dave Edwards

    February 19, 2008

  • "In Orwell's dystopia, 'the sexual act, successfully performed, was rebellion.' So it is in Wearside in 2009, where the excessively noisy exploits of Cartwright and her possibly very talented partner are a form of rebellion against the arbitrary and interventionist nature of the ASBO-wielding powers-that-be. They are screwing for liberty."

    - Brendan O'Neill, Disturbing the Peace,, 11 May 2009.

    May 13, 2009