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re·bel·lious / riˈbelyəs/ • adj. showing a desire to resist authority, control, or convention: young people with a rebellious streak. ∎  (of a person, city, or state) engaged in opposition or armed resistance to an established government or ruler: the rebellious republics. ∎  (of a thing) not easily handled or kept in place: he smoothed back a rebellious lock of hair.DERIVATIVES: re·bel·lious·ly·bel·lious·ness n.