AskDefine | Define rebel

Dictionary Definition

rebel adj
1 used by northerners of Confederate soldiers; "the rebel yell"
2 participating in organized resistance to a constituted government; "the rebelling confederacy" [syn: rebel(a), rebelling(a), rebellious]


1 `johnny' was applied as a nickname for Confederate soldiers by the Federal soldiers in the American Civil War; `grayback' derived from their gray Confederate uniforms [syn: Reb, Johnny Reb, Johnny, grayback]
2 a person who takes part in an armed rebellion against the constituted authority (especially in the hope of improving conditions) [syn: insurgent, insurrectionist, freedom fighter]
3 someone who exhibits great independence in thought and action [syn: maverick]


1 take part in a rebellion; renounce a former allegiance [syn: arise, rise, rise up]
2 break with established customs [syn: renegade] [also: rebelling, rebelled]

User Contributed Dictionary

see Rebel


Etymology 1

French rebelle > rebellisas (waging war again, insurgent)


  • a UK /ˈrebəl/
  • rĕb'əl, /ˈrɛbəl/, /"rEb@l/


  1. A person who resists an established authority, often violently.
person who resists an established authority
  • Chinese: 反叛者
  • Czech: povstalec
  • Dutch: rebel
  • Finnish: kapinallinen
  • French: rebelle
  • German: Rebell , Aufrührer
  • Italian: ribelle
  • Japanese: 反逆者
  • Portuguese: rebelde
  • Russian: бунтовщик (buntovschik)
  • Spanish: rebelde
  • Swedish: rebell

Etymology 2

French rebeller > rebellare (to fight back, to wage war again)


  • a UK /rɪˈbel/
  • , /rɪˈbɛl, /rI"bEl/
  • Rhymes with: -ɛl


  1. To resist or become defiant toward an authority.
Related terms

Extensive Definition

For other uses, see Rebel (disambiguation) and Rebellion (disambiguation).
Rebellion is a refusal of obedience.It may therefore be seen as encompassing a range of behaviours from civil disobedience and mass nonviolent resistance, to violent and organized attempts to destroy an established authority such as the government. Those who participate in rebellions are known as "rebels".
Throughout history, many different groups that opposed their governments have been called rebels. In the United States, the term was used for the Continentals by the British in the Revolutionary War, and the Confederacy by the Union in the American Civil War. It also includes members of paramilitary forces who take up arms against an established government.
Most unarmed rebellions have not been against authority in general, but rather have sought to establish a new government in their place. For example, the Boxer Rebellion sought to implement a stronger government in China in place of the weak and divided government of the time. The Jacobite Risings (called "Jacobite Rebellions" by the government) attempted to restore the deposed Stuart kings to the thrones of England and Scotland, rather than abolish the monarchy completely.

Types of rebellion

A violent rebellion is sometimes referred to as an insurgency, while a larger conflict may escalate into a civil war. There are a number of terms that fall under the umbrella of rebel, and they range from those with positive connotations to those with pejorative connotations. Examples include:
  • Nonviolent resistance or civil disobedience, which do not include violence or paramilitary force
  • Resistance movement, which is carried out by freedom fighters, often against an occupying foreign power
  • Revolution, which is carried out by radicals, usually meant to overthrow the current government
  • Uprising, which is carried out by militants
  • Revolt, a term that is sometimes used for a more localized rebellions rather than a general uprising
  • Mutiny, which is carried out by military or security forces against their commanders
  • Subversion, which are non-overt attempts at sabotaging a government, carried out by spies or other subversives
  • Terrorism, which is carried out by different kinds of political or religious extremists
rebel in Aymara: Sayt'awi
rebel in Czech: Rebelie
rebel in German: Aufstand
rebel in Spanish: Rebelión
rebel in Esperanto: Ribelo
rebel in French: Révolte
rebel in Indonesian: Pemberontakan
rebel in Icelandic: Uppreisn
rebel in Italian: Rivolta
rebel in Dutch: Opstand
rebel in Norwegian: Opprør
rebel in Polish: Rebeliant
rebel in Portuguese: Rebelião
rebel in Russian: Восстание
rebel in Simple English: Rebellion
rebel in Finnish: Kapina
rebel in Swedish: Uppror
rebel in Chinese: 武装起事

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Bolshevik, Bolshevist, Bolshie, Carbonarist, Carbonaro, Castroist, Castroite, Charley, Communist, Cong, Fenian, Guevarist, Jacobin, Leninist, Maoist, Marxist, Mau-Mau, Puritan, Red, Red Republican, Roundhead, Sinn Feiner, Trotskyist, Trotskyite, VC, Vietcong, Yankee, Yankee Doodle, adversary, agitator, anarch, anarchist, anarcho-syndicalist, antagonist, antinomian, apostate, arise, assailant, attacker, bellyacher, bonnet rouge, brawler, breakaway, challenge, complainant, complainer, crab, crank, criminal syndicalist, croaker, dare, debunker, defy, disobey, dissent, dissenter, extreme, extremist, extremistic, factious, faultfinder, flout, frondeur, griper, grouch, grouser, growler, grumbler, heretic, iconoclast, insubordinate, insurge, insurgent, insurrect, insurrectionary, insurrectionist, insurrecto, kicker, kvetch, malcontent, maverick, mount the barricades, murmurer, mutineer, mutineering, mutinous, mutiny, mutterer, nihilist, nonconformist, opponent, overthrow, querulous person, radical, reactionary, reactionist, rebellious, recusant, red, reluct, reluctate, resistance fighter, resister, revolt, revolter, revolute, revolution, revolutional, revolutionary, revolutionary junta, revolutioner, revolutionist, revolutionize, revolutionizer, riot, rioter, riotous, rise, rise against, rise up, run riot, sans-culotte, sans-culottist, schismatic, seditionary, seditious, sorehead, strike, subversive, subvert, syndicalist, terrorist, traitor, traitorous, treasonable, turbulent, ultraist, whiner
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