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The Complete Vocabulary Builder Workbook



How to pronounce defiance (audio)

Dictionary definition of defiance

The act of resisting or rejecting authority, control, or expectations.
"The child's defiance of authority led to a punishment."

Detailed meaning of defiance

It is often used to describe a refusal to comply with rules, laws, or commands, or a resistance to being controlled or dominated by others. For example, a person engaging in acts of defiance may refuse to follow orders from a superior, or disobey laws or regulations.
Defiance can also refer to the attitude or behavior of someone who is determined to stand up for what they believe in, or to assert their own autonomy, even in the face of opposition or adversity. It can also refer to an act of rebellion, or an act of standing up against something or someone that is deemed unjust or oppressive.

It implies a resistance or rejection of authority, control, or expectations and suggests that the person or the thing described as defiance is not willing to comply or submit. It implies a willingness to challenge the status quo or to stand up for what one believes in, even in the face of opposition or adversity.
Defiance can be seen as a positive or negative trait, depending on the context, as it can be used to stand up for oneself or for others, or to resist oppression, or on the other hand, it can be used to resist laws, rules or social norms for personal gain or for negative reasons.

Example sentences containing defiance

1. The student showed defiance by refusing to follow the teacher's instructions.
2. The protester raised their fist in an act of defiance against the oppressive regime.
3. The child's defiance was evident as they stomped their feet and crossed their arms.
4. The athlete's defiant attitude motivated them to prove their critics wrong.
5. The rebellious teenager expressed defiance by breaking curfew.
6. The dissident's defiance of the government's orders landed them in jail.

History and etymology of defiance

The noun 'defiance' has its origins in the Middle English word 'defiaunce,' which came from Old French 'defiance' and ultimately traces its roots to the Latin word 'defiare.' In Latin, 'de' means 'away' or 'off,' and 'fiare' comes from 'fidere,' meaning 'to trust' or 'to have confidence.' Therefore, the etymology of 'defiance' suggests the act of breaking away from trust or confidence, signaling a deliberate resistance or rejection of authority, control, or expectations. This word reflects the idea of boldly and openly challenging or opposing prevailing norms or rules, making it a term that embodies the spirit of rebellion and non-conformity.

Quiz: Find the meaning of defiance

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Further usage examples of defiance

1. The employee's defiance of the company policy led to disciplinary action.
2. The artist's work was a form of artistic defiance against societal norms.
3. The activist's defiant speech inspired others to join the cause.
4. The criminal's defiance in court earned them a harsher sentence.
5. The leader's defiance of international laws sparked outrage among neighboring countries.
6. The politician's defiance of party regulations led to their expulsion.
7. The prisoner's defiance towards the guards resulted in solitary confinement.
8. The student's defiant behavior disrupted the classroom environment.
9. The citizen's defiance of the curfew imposed by the government sparked a peaceful protest.
10. The driver's defiant attitude towards traffic laws put others at risk.
11. The public figure's defiant statements ignited a heated debate.
12. The employee's defiance of safety protocols led to an accident in the workplace.
13. The athlete's defiance of doping regulations resulted in disqualification from the competition.
14. The defendant's defiant plea of not guilty challenged the prosecution's case.



resistance, compliance, obedience, submission


Suffix -ance, SAT 12 (Scholastic Assessment Test), Authority and Order, Emancipation and Rebellion

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