Definition of unruly in English:


adjectiveunrulier, unruliest

  • Disorderly and disruptive and not amenable to discipline or control.

    ‘a group of unruly children’
    ‘Kate tried to control her unruly emotions’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Police were deployed to control unruly shoppers as the United States' major sales of the year got underway.’
    • ‘Residents are urging estate agents to take control of unruly tenants who they claim are making their lives hell.’
    • ‘Officers in riot gear were called to Wakefield to control an unruly crowd of several hundred people.’
    • ‘Barnes allegedly behaved in an unruly and disruptive way during the flight.’
    • ‘Several times she was sanctioned by the high priestess for unruly behavior.’
    • ‘Because of his unruly behavior, everyone near Petruchio fears for his or her life.’
    • ‘Theft and rape cases are on the increase because of the uncontrollable and unruly consumption of alcohol.’
    • ‘Headteachers will be given complete control over the expulsion of unruly pupils by December 1.’
    • ‘They were extremely loud and unruly, tossing food at one another and leaving it on the floor.’
    • ‘She sat demurely, which was very unlike her usual loud and unruly self, and stared at the wall, barely blinking.’
    • ‘An important issue was raised by the boisterous and often unruly Labour senior whip.’
    • ‘Anyone who has had to manage wayward or unruly livestock will know that the easiest way to do so is with food.’
    • ‘I caution members that they are becoming very unruly, and it is leading to disorder.’
    • ‘They are making use of anti-social behaviour orders to curb unruly families and individuals.’
    • ‘My two are not the most unruly kids on the block but they are a bit boisterous.’
    • ‘Matisse was neat and careful while Picasso was wild and unruly.’
    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
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Late Middle English from un-‘not’ + archaic ruly ‘amenable to discipline or order’ (from rule).