WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2017
un•ru•ly /ʌnˈruli/USA pronunciation   adj.,  -li•er, -li•est. 
  1. not cooperative or well-behaved;
    unmanageable;
    disorderly:an unruly gang of troublemakers.
un•ru•li•ness, n. [uncountable]

WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2017
un•ru•ly  (un ro̅o̅lē),USA pronunciation adj.,  -li•er, -li•est. 
  1. not submissive or conforming to rule;
    ungovernable;
    turbulent;
    intractable;
    refractory;
    lawless:an unruly class; an unruly wilderness.
un•ruli•ness, n. 
  • 1350–1400; Middle English unruely, equivalent. to un- un-1 + ruly, ruely governable, controllable; see rule, -y1
    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.


Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::

unruly /ʌnˈruːlɪ/ adj ( -lier, -liest)
  1. disposed to disobedience or indiscipline

unˈruliness n



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