Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Presumptuous and insulting in manner or speech; arrogant.
  • adj. Audaciously rude or disrespectful; impertinent.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Insulting in manner or words.
  • adj. Rude.
  • adj. Cheeky.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Deviating from that which is customary; novel; strange; unusual.
  • adj. Haughty and contemptuous or brutal in behavior or language; overbearing; domineering; grossly rude or disrespectful; saucy
  • adj. Proceeding from or characterized by insolence; insulting.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Unwonted; unusual; uncommon.
  • Showing haughty disregard of others; overbearing; contemptuously impertinent.
  • Proceeding from insolence; insulting; supercilious: as, insolent words or behavior.
  • Producing the effect of insolence; excessive; unbearable.
  • Unfrequented; lonely.
  • Synonyms and Insolent, Insulting; abusive, impudent, contemptuous. Insolent is now chiefly used of language that is intentionally and grossly rude, defiant, or rebellious. Where it applies to conduct, the conduct includes language as the most offensive thing. Insulting is freely applicable to either words or deeds that are intended to lower a person's self-respect: as, an insulting gesture. Insolent generally implies pride, but insulting does not. A man may be insolent or insulting to his superior, his inferior, or his equal. See arrogance and affront, n.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. marked by casual disrespect
  • adj. unrestrained by convention or propriety

Etymologies

Middle English, from Latin īnsolēns, īnsolent-, immoderate, arrogant : in-, not; see in-1 + solēns, present participle of solēre, to be accustomed.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English, from Old French, from Latin insolens ("unaccustomed, unwanted, unusual, immoderate, excessive, arrogant, insolent"), from in- ("priv.") + solens, present participle of solere ("to be accustomed, to be wont"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • She called her insolent, and assurance; and said, Begone, bold woman as thou art! — but come hither.

    Pamela

  • "I wonder if you know how insolent is your tone, Belmanoir?" asked Fortescue steadily.

    The Black Moth: A Romance of the XVIII Century

  • There was a certain insolent quality in her beauty, as if it flaunted itself somewhat too defiantly in the beholder's eye.

    Further Chronicles of Avonlea

  • He had a manner of adoring the handsome, insolent queen of his affections (I will explain in a moment why I call her insolent); indeed, he looked up to her literally as well as sentimentally; for she was the least bit the taller of the two.

    Georgina's Reasons

  • After this they conversed in a whisper too low for me to hear, but I could distinguish the word insolent as if meant to me; and finding I could have no chance of influencing his mind at this time, I retired to my chamber, waiting for the summons of the breakfast-bell, and have written thus far.

    The Old Woman

  • -- She called her insolent, and assurance; and said, Begone, bold woman as thou art!

    Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded

  • Some think this psalm was penned upon occasion of some great distress and trouble that the church of God was in, when the enemies were in insolent and threatening, in which case the church does not so much pour out her complaint to God as place her confidence in God, and triumph in doing so; and with such a holy triumph we ought to sing this psalm.

    Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume III (Job to Song of Solomon)

  • They seized on these emperors of the senate, for such they called them with malicious contempt, stripped them of their garments, and dragged them in insolent triumph through the streets of Rome, with the design of inflicting a slow and cruel death on these unfortunate princes.

    The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

  • No more, ever, of that strange suspicion -- 'insolent' -- oh, what a word!

    The Letters of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Barrett, Vol. 1 (of 2) 1845-1846

  • He was not exactly free and easy, but somehow naturally insolent, which is anyway less offensive than an insolence practised before the looking-glass.

    A Raw Youth