Definitions

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

  • adjective Uneasily impatient or hard to control under restriction, opposition, criticism, or delay.
  • adjective Characterized by impatience or an absence of calm; unsettled.
  • adjective Refusing to move. Used of a horse or other animal.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Unwilling to go or to move forward; stopping; balky; obstinate; stubborn. Compare def. 5.
  • Not easily moved or worked; stiff.
  • Being at rest; being less in motion.
  • Impatient under restraint or opposition; recalcitrant.
  • Refusing to rest or stand still; restless: said especially of horses.

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

  • adjective Unwilling to go on; obstinate in refusing to move forward; stubborn; drawing back.
  • adjective obsolete Inactive; sluggish.
  • adjective Impatient under coercion, chastisement, or opposition; refractory.
  • adjective Uneasy; restless; averse to standing still; fidgeting about; -- applied especially to horses.

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

  • adjective Impatient under delay, duress, or control.
  • adjective Resistant of control; stubborn.
  • adjective Refusing to move, especially in a forward direction.

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

  • adjective being in a tense state
  • adjective impatient especially under restriction or delay

Etymologies

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

[Middle English restif, stationary, from Old French, from rester, to remain, from Latin restāre, to keep back : re-, re- + stāre, to stand; see stā- in Indo-European roots.]

Examples

  • Hamedan, 200 miles (340 kilometers) west of Tehran, is not known as a restive area, but it is close to Kurdish area of Iran that has witnessed occasional clashes between Kurdish rebels and security forces over the past years.

    Ahmadinejad Assassination Attempt? Grenade Attack Reported Near Iran Leader's Convoy

  • She came into the club room one evening in time to hear the president call the restive members to order with the statement, "You might just as well keep quiet for she is bound to finish it, and the quicker she gets to reading, the longer time we'll have for dancing."

    Twenty Years at Hull-House, With Autobiographical Notes

  • But if we found wickedness in it -- vice, as we rightly call it -- if it became restive, that is, rebellious and self-willed, then we should punish it indeed.

    The Good News of God

  • But if we found wickedness in it -- vice, as we rightly call it -- if it became restive, that is, rebellious and self-willed, then we should punish it indeed.

    The Good News of God

  • But if we found wickedness in it -- vice, as we rightly call it -- if it became restive, that is, rebellious and self-willed, then we should punish it indeed.

    The Good News of God

  • A widely circulated tweet from the current uprising, which refers to the restive city of Homs, makes the point: "Homs 2011 = Hama 1982, but slowly, slowly."

    News

  • A widely circulated tweet from the current uprising, which refers to the restive city of Homs, makes the point: "Homs 2011 = Hama 1982, but slowly, slowly."

    News

  • Hamedan, 340km west of Tehran, is not known as a restive area, but it is close to Kurdish area of Iran that has witnessed occasional clashes between Kurdish rebels and security forces over the past years.

    News24 Top Stories

  • Heavy shelling and bombardment rocked Somalias restive capital Mogadishu on Sunday, claiming the lives of at least 14 people Drag to Playlist

    WN.com - Business News

  • Hamedan, 200 miles west of Tehran, is not known as a restive area, but it is close to a

    The Seattle Times

Comments

New comments are temporarily disabled while we update our database.

  • Often used incorrectly to mean restless.

    December 9, 2006

  • Though restless and restive are close in meaning, I think. It's only that with "restive" there is the element of straining at the bit, trying to throw off control. In its origins, from the Latin restare, "to remain", it referred to a horse that refused to budge. That just stayed there, when you tried to make it move, and this led to the meaning "rebellious, disobedient, resisting control".

    December 1, 2007

  • Better not to get restive for delayed food servings.

    August 5, 2012

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    August 14, 2012

  • restless

    The crowd grew restive as the comedian’s opening jokes fell flat.

    October 11, 2016