unruliness, n.
/un rooh"lee/, adj., unrulier, unruliest.
not submissive or conforming to rule; ungovernable; turbulent; intractable; refractory; lawless: an unruly class; an unruly wilderness.
[1350-1400; ME unruely, equiv. to un- UN-1 + ruly, ruely governable, controllable; see RULE, -Y1]
Syn. disobedient, unmanageable, uncontrollable, stubborn, disorderly, riotous. UNRULY, INTRACTABLE, RECALCITRANT, REFRACTORY describe persons or things that resist management or control. UNRULY suggests persistently disorderly behavior or character in persons or things: an unruly child, peevish and willful; wild, unruly hair. INTRACTABLE suggests in persons a determined resistance to all attempts to guide or direct them, in things a refusal to respond to attempts to shape, improve, or modify them: an intractable social rebel; a seemingly intractable problem in logistics.
RECALCITRANT and REFRACTORY imply not only a lack of submissiveness but also an open, often violent, rebellion against authority or direction. RECALCITRANT, the stronger of the two terms, suggests a stubborn and absolute noncompliance: a recalcitrant person, openly contemptuous of all authority. REFRACTORY implies active, mulish disobedience, but leaves open the possibility of eventual compliance: refractory students, resisting efforts to interest them in their studies.

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Universalium. 2010.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • unruly — unruly, ungovernable, intractable, refractory, recalcitrant, willful, headstrong are comparable when they mean not submissive to government or control. Unruly stresses a lack of discipline or an incapacity for discipline; in addition it often… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • Unruly — Un*rul y, a. [Compar. {Unrulier}, superl. {Unruliest}.] [Pref. un not + rule. Cf. {Ruly}.] Not submissive to rule; disregarding restraint; disposed to violate; turbulent; ungovernable; refractory; as, an unruly boy; unruly boy; unruly conduct.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • unruly — I adjective chaotic, contrary, contumacious, disobedient, disorderly, effrenatus, ferox, fractious, froward, hard to control, headstrong, incorrigible, indocile, insubordinate, intractable, irrepressible, lawless, mutinous, obstinate,… …   Law dictionary

  • unruly — (adj.) c.1400, from UN (Cf. un ) (1) not + obsolete ruly amenable to rule, from RULE (Cf. rule) (n.) …   Etymology dictionary

  • unruly — [adj] disobedient assertive, bawdy, disorderly, drunken, forward, fractious, headstrong, heedless, impervious, impetuous, imprudent, impulsive, incorrigible, inexorable, insubordinate, intemperate, intractable, lawless, mean, mutinous,… …   New thesaurus

  • unruly — ► ADJECTIVE (unrulier, unruliest) ▪ disorderly and disruptive; difficult to control. DERIVATIVES unruliness noun. ORIGIN from archaic ruly «disciplined, orderly», from RULE(Cf. ↑rule) …   English terms dictionary

  • unruly — [unro͞o′lē] adj. unrulier, unruliest [ME unruely < un , not + reuly, orderly < reule,RULE] hard to control, restrain, or keep in order; disobedient, disorderly, etc. unruliness n …   English World dictionary

  • unruly — adjective (unrulier; est) Etymology: Middle English unreuly, from un + reuly disciplined, from reule rule Date: 15th century not readily ruled, disciplined, or managed < an unruly crowd > < a mane of unruly hair > • unruliness noun Synony …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • unruly — [[t]ʌnru͟ːli[/t]] 1) ADJ GRADED If you describe people, especially children, as unruly, you mean that they behave badly and are difficult to control. It s not good enough just to blame the unruly children. ...unruly behaviour. Syn: uncontrollable …   English dictionary

  • unruly — UK [ʌnˈruːlɪ] / US [ʌnˈrulɪ] adjective Word forms unruly : adjective unruly comparative unrulier superlative unruliest very difficult to control unruly children She spent hours trying to tame her unruly hair …   English dictionary

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