Meaning of riot in English:


Pronunciation /ˈrʌɪət/

See synonyms for riot

Translate riot into Spanish


  • 1A violent disturbance of the peace by a crowd.

    ‘riots broke out in the capital’
    • ‘a prison riot’
    • ‘he was convicted on charges of riot and assault’
    • ‘riot police’
    • ‘Economic inequality has remained a pressing problem and has lead to riots and violent outbreaks.’
    • ‘On the first day of the riots, police strongly suggested that their employees evacuate the office.’
    • ‘At one point, a police helicopter reported a riot, seeing men unfurling a banner across the prison roof and smoke billowing from the yard.’
    • ‘Police disbanded the riots and detained an estimated forty students.’
    • ‘Later that evening demonstrations escalated into some smaller riots in the streets.’
    • ‘War is on the horizon, and there are riots in the streets.’
    • ‘Trouble began with provincial uprisings and riots.’
    • ‘He lost his sister in the ensuing riots.’
    • ‘After a riot in Lincolnshire in 1641, William was never able to regain his property in that county.’
    • ‘Civil authority was challenged in bloody street riots.’
    • ‘The riots left more than 1,000 dead.’
    • ‘The riots happened just minutes from where I lived.’
    • ‘ We don't know exactly what caused the riot to break out.’
    uproar, rampage, furore, tumult, commotion, upheaval, disturbance, street fight, melee, row, scuffle, fracas, fray, affray, brawl, free-for-all
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    1. 1.1An uproar.
      ‘the film's sex scenes caused a riot in Cannes’
      • ‘If this all continued then Ms. Lexing had a massively large riot to handle.’
      • ‘The top hat caused a riot the first time it was seen in London.’
      • ‘Reportedly the film caused a riot in San Francisco's Chinatown in 1927 for its portrayal of opiate-trading, white-slaving Asians.’
      uproar, pandemonium, commotion, mayhem, confusion, unrest, furore, upheaval, hubbub, hurly-burly, turmoil, riot, ruckus, tumult, disarray, turbulence
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    2. 1.2An outburst of uncontrolled feelings.
      ‘ a riot of emotions raged through Fabia’
      • ‘His mind was a riot of different emotions as he thought, ‘sorry for… you know.’’
      • ‘Chad had never been so gentle with a kiss, and yet he'd never felt such a riot of emotions at the same time.’
    3. 1.3 archaic mass noun Uncontrolled revelry; rowdy behaviour.
      • ‘a young lord leaving the city after a night of riot’
  • 2in singular An impressively large or varied display of something.

    ‘the garden was a riot of colour’
    • ‘The thrilling power of the orchestra's huge string section was unleashed even more impressively in the second movement, a riot of non-stop energy.’
    • ‘The elaboration of the arch-building tradition continued through the inter-war years and reached a climax in 1939 when a riot of extravagant designs was depicted in the local press.’
    • ‘Alexander Girard splashed the gray face of postwar minimalism with a riot of color and infused modernist intellectual design with the giddy warmth of folk art.’
    • ‘A city market is a riot of enticing smells, textures, and colors, an abundance of beautiful fruits and vegetables.’
    • ‘In a riot of color, one giant painting spanning the entire length and breadth of the sanctum depicted the creation of the world from cosmic fire, its subsequent corruption and pollution and its final cleansing by fire.’
    • ‘For weeks beforehand, school children make thousands upon thousands of crepe paper flowers, which are then attached to the twisted, bleak-looking vines in a riot of primary colours.’
    • ‘The whole place was a riot of different voices and accents - I guessed the huge variety was due to so many different floors intermingling, all with their own fashions and traditions.’
    • ‘Presented with a riot of possible furnishings, Simmons chooses fabric and wallpaper patterns and compounds them without regard to scale or convention.’
    • ‘Viewers can luxuriate in a riot of color, aerial ballet, and wildly imaginative notions of love and yearning - expressions of what it feels like to be alive.’
    • ‘I wasn't sure how many floors there were to the place: the frontage was a riot of shingle roofs and gables, annexes and additions, windows of all shapes and sizes.’
    • ‘In the bathrooms, the countertops are a riot of color: they were built with a wide variety of recycled plastics, such as empty soda bottles.’
    • ‘The coffee shop was a riot of smells, people and noise.’
    • ‘Prime Time viewing is a riot of hot shows, reality TV, feature films, sports, and other mass appeal programs.’
    • ‘The deciduous trees were already a riot of color, turning the hills rusty-gold in patches while the evergreens formed their own enclaves.’
    • ‘To her, suddenly, the entire modern world seemed a riot of noise.’
    • ‘Both films are vivid riots of colour, rhythm and violence, full of gun-toting gangsters and visually opulent set pieces.’
    • ‘The scene could be a downtown loft or a private club: couples are seen on the dance floor, arms flung about each other, colors an artificially lit, dull riot of yellows, whites, tans and some blue.’
    • ‘You'll be presented with a flashing, blinking riot of color.’
    • ‘In comparison to Volta's splendid riot, the quiet sculptures seem meditative and spare, almost passive.’
    • ‘Vegas airport is a throbbing, pulsating riot of noise and colour.’
    mass, sea, lavish display, splash, extravagance, extravaganza, flourish, show, exhibition
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  • 3 informal in singular A highly amusing or entertaining person or thing.

    • ‘everyone thought she was a riot’
    • ‘Judge Bill Gibron is an absolute laugh riot at family reunions.’
    • ‘I didn't think the trailer was some sort of laugh riot, but I don't think it was unfunny either.’
    • ‘He used to bounce around in that chair all over the place, he was a riot.’
    • ‘The men's room number was very funny, the lyrics to the song were just a riot.’
    • ‘The channel packed in games such as shouting match and hoopla that caused a laugh riot among the crowd.’
    wit, hoot, comedian, comic, entertainer, joker, clown, buffoon
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[no object]
  • 1Take part in a violent public disturbance.

    ‘students rioted in Paris’
    • ‘Nine years later, Sophia Jex-Blake and several other women encountered more violent opposition in Edinburgh, where male students rioted to prevent women from attending clinical instruction.’
    • ‘When I see that other fellow college students rioted and destroyed the coolest liquor store in town, while in a drunken mob, I wince.’
    • ‘In response, they rioted for two nights.’
    • ‘In times past, their presence has provoked rioting and other forms of violent conflict, but today, in spite of the heightened sensitivities to cultural displays, they attract little attention.’
    • ‘Not infrequently, girls ran away; some also formed gangs, rioted, and resorted to violence.’
    • ‘Despite the involvement of 1000 people in Wednesday's rioting, the story didn't make the front page.’
    • ‘The year after would see rioting in Detroit, Newark, Boston and Milwaukee.’
    • ‘The umpire, supported by the third, TV, umpire, correctly gave him ‘out’, but 90,000 spectators disagreed and proceeded to riot until the game was stopped.’
    • ‘However, many of the younger marchers, such as Gerry Donaghy, are prone to rioting, needing only a spark to set them off.’
    • ‘For the first time, middle-class citizens and skilled workers joined activists in protest, rioting against the government.’
    • ‘Early attempts at privatization led to rioting in Osh in 1990, so this process was put on hold.’
    • ‘The Civil War is in its second year and a compulsory draft is in force, which leads to rioting amongst the poor.’
    • ‘In 1979, Kazaks rioted because there were rumors that the government was going to set aside land for local Germans who wanted to create their own independent region.’
    • ‘When the citizens rioted against the English, Richard replied by building a fortress next to the city.’
    • ‘While he has promised a referendum to the people of Adeh, when he made it clear that independence would not be one of their options, 10,000 people rioted.’
    • ‘When the details were announced on 12 February 1111, Rome rioted.’
    • ‘Farmers rioted in Geneva, Paris and Strasbourg’
    • ‘On March 18, prisoners rioted, breaking down a door and assaulting a police officer.’
    rampage, go on the rampage, run riot, take to the streets, fight in the streets, start a fight, raise an uproar, cause an affray, go wild, run wild, run amok, go berserk, fight, brawl, scuffle
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    1. 1.1Behave in an unrestrained way.
      ‘another set of emotions rioted through him’
      • ‘‘I'll play you for it,’ Danny told him, allowing her anger and rioting emotions to get the better of her.’
      • ‘He felt her nod beneath his cheek and he fought the rioting emotions inside him.’
      • ‘There was a pause, while Kara struggled to deal with her rioting emotions.’
    2. 1.2 archaic Act in a dissipated way.
      • ‘an unrepentant prodigal son, rioting off to far countries’


    run riot
    • 1Behave in a violent and unrestrained way.

      ‘a country where freelance gunmen run riot, looting and hijacking food’
      • ‘The fight to bring the law up-to-date and stop cyber criminals running riot is severely hampered by the lack of understanding of the scope of the problem.’
      • ‘Hence why a good teacher wont spend all their time allowing children to run riot in the classroom but wont spend all their time shouting at them either.’
      • ‘The tearaway runs riot, swears and abuses, causes criminal damage and ridicules the elderly.’
      • ‘Mr Debnam argued that ‘armed robbers are running riot across the inner west’ and that police did not have the numbers to deal with it.’
      • ‘Ten dead, over a dozen pupils injured, and another school traumatized by a student running riot with guns in the classroom.’
      • ‘Children are running riot in pubs because publicans cannot ask them to leave.’
      • ‘She cited a recent incident when, in broad daylight, a group of youths armed with sticks ran riot through a nearby street smashing the windows of cars and houses.’
      • ‘I suppose she cooked you breakfast in bed then disappeared for the rest of the day to let you run riot.’
      • ‘I just got them to sit down and be quiet, they've been running riot all day.’
      • ‘The heavily pregnant ewes were scattered in all directions, as the ferocious dogs ran riot in the field.’
      rampage, go on the rampage, run riot, take to the streets, fight in the streets, start a fight, raise an uproar, cause an affray, go wild, run wild, run amok, go berserk, fight, brawl, scuffle
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1(of a mental faculty or emotion) function or be expressed without restraint.
        ‘her imagination ran riot’
        • ‘Once your child starts playgroup and you go back to work, your emotions may run riot.’
        • ‘Childhood is a time when imagination runs riot.’
        • ‘Let us put our mind in neutral, and let our imaginations run riot.’
        • ‘There are strong indications throughout the film that the whole story is nothing more than Kevin's imagination run riot.’
        • ‘When walking over these battlefields, the imagination runs riot envisaging the unremitting slaughter among the Russians and Japanese in battles which presaged the nature of the First World War.’
        • ‘In fact, less a village and more an example of what happens when a childlike imagination runs riot in the mind of an architect of means.’
        • ‘In the heart of the Nevada desert, it is a playground for adults where the imagination runs riot.’
        • ‘Indian imagination seems to have run riot around this fascinating, multifaceted character of Krishna: his pranks, his romance and his philosophy.’
        • ‘The middle is ultimately the climax, where the comedian comes into his own, letting imagination run riot in the filthiest, most entertaining way possible.’
        • ‘I amuse myself by allowing my imagination to run riot again…’
        • ‘Thankfully, no-one was hurt, but still, Tom's mind was running riot with panic and worry.’
      2. 1.2Proliferate or spread uncontrollably.
        ‘traditional prejudices were allowed to run riot’
        • ‘The fusion of these two elements has attracted admirers who hanker after this minimalist vision, but Kelly is more at home when she is allowed to run riot with dramatic textures.’
        • ‘Rumours spread of his solitude, speculation running riot in the castle…’
        • ‘Names are established, reputations ruined, narcissism runs riot and lives are changed forever.’
        • ‘It's probably easier in a small business not to let things run riot.’
        • ‘Where space is at a premium, I'd recommend growing roses vertically, climbing or rambling varieties planted to run riot up a wall or up a free-standing trellised arch, leaving the pots and beds for other plants.’
        • ‘Window boxes run riot all summer and at this time of year pavements are stained purple with mulberries from trees planted on the orders of Elizabeth I.’
        • ‘Sex and religion run riot through the lyrical imagery - paired up like a hilariously mismatched sitcom couple once again.’


Middle English (originally in the sense ‘dissolute living’): from Old French riote ‘debate’, from rioter ‘to quarrel’, of unknown ultimate origin.