Definition of restive in English:


Pronunciation /ˈrestiv/ /ˈrɛstɪv/

See synonyms for restive

Translate restive into Spanish


  • 1(of a person) unable to keep still or silent and becoming increasingly difficult to control, especially because of impatience, dissatisfaction, or boredom.

    ‘the crowd had been waiting for hours and many were becoming restive’
    • ‘he reiterated his determination to hold the restive republics together’
    • ‘No, the workers were not restive, nor were pickets lining up outside.’
    • ‘Such resentful people easily become restive; should a promising opportunity to throw off the oppressor's dominion present itself, they may seize it.’
    • ‘Discontented with the lack of political rights, government corruption, and economic hardship, the country became increasingly restive during the 1980s, erupting into violent ethnic confrontations in 1992.’
    • ‘Consumers have become increasingly restive about the absence of any legislative guarantee that anything of value will be returned to society as reimbursement for the monopoly rights they have ceded.’
    • ‘One key to the carmaker's success over the last five years has been its ability to keep its traditionally restive labor unions at bay with near double-digit annual pay raises and other concessions.’
    • ‘Under pressure from medical organizations and restive nonsmokers, national governments around Europe are finally getting serious about tackling tobacco.’
    • ‘Curators have always had to steer (in a timely fashion) between the demands of the general audience and those of restive academics.’
    • ‘In the right frame of mind any crucial five minutes could amuse the most restive psyche, despite which fact you feel certain that you could easily destroy a universe of time.’
    • ‘Unions are growing restive, demanding a bigger slice of the pie - which could spark disruptive strikes if they don't get it.’
    • ‘While some of its specifics are a problem, the overall argument provides a coherent, long-sighted perspective on this most restive period in the history of the stage.’
    • ‘During the trip, they had grown restive, quarrelsome, and hungry.’
    • ‘The country's social needs - in education and health care especially - are rising because of a growing population and an increasingly restive one.’
    • ‘Their people cannot be kept entirely ignorant of this situation, and become restive.’
    • ‘Raphael heard Charmian's restive breathing, and a tear slid down his nose onto the furs he rested his head on.’
    • ‘All of this has the capacity to further inflame already restive populations in the region.’
    • ‘The Filipinos were restive under the Spanish, and this long period was marked by numerous uprisings.’
    • ‘A deep silence settled upon his chest, his eyes dilated, his breathing became sporadic and restive.’
    • ‘Here is an impoverished country with a restive population demanding improvements to their lives.’
    • ‘All of this has the capacity to further inflame already restive populations in the region.’
    • ‘A restive population is demanding the birth of some new dispensation to take charge and solve our problems.’
    restless, fidgety, edgy, on edge, tense, uneasy, ill at ease, worked up, nervous, agitated, anxious, on tenterhooks, keyed up, apprehensive, unquiet, impatient
    unruly, disorderly, out of control, uncontrollable, unmanageable, ungovernable, unbiddable, disobedient, defiant, up in arms, wilful, recalcitrant, refractory, insubordinate, disaffected, dissentious, riotous
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    1. 1.1(of a horse) refusing to advance, stubbornly standing still or moving backward or sideways.
      ‘both their horses became restive at once’
      • ‘A smaller and lighter horse, but restive and fiery, was brought to Legolas.’
      • ‘It was a false scent, but ahead of him the horses grew restive, jostling and nipping, and the grey fretted against his hand.’
      • ‘The horses were now more restive than ever, and Johann was trying to hold them in, while excitedly imploring me not to do anything so foolish.’
      • ‘The hyarmi, five in all, caressed the necks of their restive mounts, calming them.’


Late 16th century from Old French restif, -ive, from Latin restare ‘remain’. The original sense, ‘inclined to remain still’, has undergone a reversal; the association with the refractory movements of a horse gave rise to the current sense ‘restless’.