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From Middle English riot (debauched living, dissipation), from Old French riote (debate). Compare French riotte and Occitan riòta.



riot (plural riots)

  1. Wanton or unrestrained behavior; uproar; tumult.
    • Shakespeare
      His headstrong riot hath no curb.
  2. The tumultuous disturbance of the public peace by an unlawful assembly of three or more persons in the execution of some private object.
  3. A wide and unconstrained variety.
    • 1921, Edward Sapir, Language
      The human world is contracting not only prospectively but to the backward-probing eye of culture-history. Nevertheless we are as yet far from able to reduce the riot of spoken languages to a small number of "stocks".
      "In summer this flower garden is a riot of colour."
  4. (obsolete) Excessive and expensive feasting; wild and loose festivity; revelry.
    • Chaucer
      Venus loveth riot and dispense.
    • Alexander Pope
      the lamb thy riot dooms to bleed to-day

Derived termsEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


riot (third-person singular simple present riots, present participle rioting, simple past and past participle rioted)

  1. (intransitive) To create or take part in a riot; to raise an uproar or sedition.
    The nuclear protesters rioted outside the military base.
  2. (intransitive, obsolete) To act in an unrestrained or wanton manner; to indulge in excess of luxury, feasting, etc.
    • Daniel
      Now he exact of all, wastes in delight, / Riots in pleasure, and neglects the law.
    • Alexander Pope
      No pulse that riots, and no blood that glows.
    • 1794, Robert Southey, Wat Tyler:
      Think of the insults, wrongs, and contumelies,
      Ye bear from your proud lords—that your hard toil
      Manures their fertile fields—you plow the earth,
      You sow the corn, you reap the ripen’d harvest,—
      They riot on the produce!