Definition of unruly in English:

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Pronunciation: /ʌnˈruːli/

adjective (unrulier, unruliest)

Disorderly and disruptive and not amenable to discipline or control: a group of unruly children figurative Kate tried to control her unruly emotions
More example sentences
  • The incident happened two weeks ago when a female science teacher at the school called a colleague to help control a class of unruly pupils.
  • He said that the Jakarta-based club had no problem with further disciplining its unruly players.
  • The latest incident came on the day Ministers announced teachers would be given a legal right to discipline unruly pupils.
disorderly, rowdy, wild, unmanageable, uncontrollable, disobedient, disruptive, attention-seeking, undisciplined, troublemaking, rebellious, mutinous, anarchic, chaotic, lawless, insubordinate, defiant, wayward, wilful, headstrong, irrepressible, unrestrained, obstreperous, difficult, intractable, out of hand, refractory, recalcitrant;
boisterous, lively, loud, noisy, rollicking, romping, rumbustious, reckless, heedless
archaic contumacious



Pronunciation: /ʌnˈruːlɪnəs/
Example sentences
  • The Red sailors and the Red Cossacks had the most fighting spirit, but this was devalued by their volatility, disobedience, and general unruliness.
  • A spokesman for City of York Council said: ‘We do not have a major problem with unruliness on buses in York, but we are not complacent and we are supporting this scheme to ensure good behaviour on buses is maintained.’
  • Extra security staff and police have been placed on duty at Edgbaston to supervise cricket's fiercest rivalry, their minds concentrated by the scenes of Antipodean unruliness witnessed at The Oval on Thursday.


Late Middle English: from un-1 'not' + archaic ruly 'amenable to discipline or order' (from rule).

Words that rhyme with unruly

boule, coulée, duly, Friuli, Hooley, Julie, mooli, newly, puli, schoolie, stoolie, Thule, truly

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: un¦ruly

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