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Borrowed from Latin obstreperus, first attested circa 17th c.


  • (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /əbˈstɹɛp.əɹ.əs/, /ɒbˈstɹɛp.əɹ.əs/
  • (US) IPA(key): /əbˈstɹɛpəɹəs/, /ɑːbˈstɹɛpəɹəs/
  • (file)


obstreperous (comparative more obstreperous, superlative most obstreperous)

  1. Attended by, or making, a loud and tumultuous noise; boisterous.
    Synonyms: clamorous, loud, noisy, vociferous
    • 1809, Washington Irving, Knickerbocker's History of New York, ch. 7:
      [O]n a clear still summer evening you may hear from the battery of New York the obstreperous peals of broad-mouthed laughter of the Dutch negroes at Communipaw.
    • 1855, Robert Browning, "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came":
      [] my hope
      Dwindled into a ghost not fit to cope
      With that obstreperous joy success would bring
    • 1918, Henry B. Fuller, On the Stairs, ch. 3:
      He developed an obstreperous baritone [] and he made himself rather preponderant, whether he happened to know the song or not.
  2. Stubbornly defiant; disobedient; resistant to authority or control, whether in a noisy manner or not.
    Synonyms: recalcitrant, uncooperative, unruly; see also Thesaurus:obstinate
    • 1827, Sir Walter Scott, The Journal of Sir Walter Scott, October 1827:
      [W]e came to Whittingham. Thence to Newcastle, where an obstreperous horse retarded us for an hour at least.
    • 1903, Lucy Maud Montgomery, "A Sandshore Wooing" in Short Stories: 1902-1903:
      My dress was draggled, my hat had slipped back, and the kinks and curls of my obstreperous hair were something awful.
    • 1915, Stewart Edward White, The Gray Dawn, ch. 70:
      They reviled the committee collectively and singly; bragged that they would shoot Coleman, Truett, Durkee, and some others at sight; flourished weapons, and otherwise became so publicly and noisily obstreperous that the committee decided they needed a lesson.
    • 2015, Penny Dreadful S2E9, 3 min
      This is what your boyfriend did, honey. When he was in one of his more obstreperous moods.

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