Definition of insist in English:

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Pronunciation: /ɪnˈsɪst/


[no object]
1Demand something forcefully, not accepting refusal: she insisted on carrying her own bag [with clause]: he insisted that she came
More example sentences
  • Downing Street demanded a replacement, insisting that the Prime Minister would only be interviewed by a man.
  • No one can demand a dialogue and insist only on being heard, as is happening today.
  • Oxford University insist that students are accepted solely on the basis of ability.
stand firm, be firm, stand one's ground, make a stand, stand up for oneself, be resolute, be determined, show determination, hold on, hold out, be emphatic, not take no for an answer, brook no refusal;
persevere, persist, not give up, keep on at someone
informal stick to one's guns, stick it out, hang in there
demand, command, require, dictate;
importune, entreat, urge, exhort
1.1 (insist on) Demand forcefully to have (something): he insisted on answers to his allegations
More example sentences
  • Sitting in a position that finally demands respect, Shylock insists on his pound of flesh.
  • Are we prepared to insist on our independence and demand to be treated by America as a friend, not a slave?
  • Soldiers at the border will demand a bribe and insist on payment before allowing the truck to go through.
1.2 (insist on) Persist in (doing something): the heavy studded boots she insisted on wearing
More example sentences
  • The author of this movie review clearly did not enjoy the movie and insists in putting it down.
  • The press doggedly insists on telling us how many soldiers have died since May 1st.
  • It will claim he was difficult to work with, insisting on micro-managing the project.
1.3 [reporting verb] State positively and assertively: [with clause]: the chairman insisted that all was not doom and gloom [with direct speech]: ‘I really am all right now,’ Isabel insisted
More example sentences
  • The groups then fell to arguing amongst themselves each insisting its definition was correct and all the others were wrong.
  • Labour politicians who accept hospitality and sponsorship insist they can't be bought.
  • He accepts she visited his coffee bar but insists she never identified herself to him while in Cambodia.
maintain, assert, hold, contend, argue, protest, claim, aver, avow, vow, swear, state, declare, announce, pronounce, proclaim, propound, be emphatic, emphasize, stress, repeat, reiterate
archaic avouch
rare asseverate, represent


Late 16th century (in the sense 'persist, persevere'): from Latin insistere 'persist', from in- 'upon' + sistere 'stand'.

  • consist from Late Middle English:

    Fron Latin consistere ‘stand firm or still, exist’, sistere ‘set, stand (still), stop’, also the source of assist (Late Middle English) originally ‘take your stand’; desist (Late Middle English) ‘stand down, stop’; exist (early 17th century) ‘come into being’, literally ‘stand out’; insist (late 16th century) ‘stand upon [an argument]’; and resist (Late Middle English) ‘stand back or against’.

Words that rhyme with insist

assist, cist, coexist, consist, cyst, desist, enlist, exist, gist, grist, hist, list, Liszt, mist, persist, resist, schist, subsist, tryst, twist, whist, wist, wrist

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: in¦sist

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