Noun > Dissident

Noun – Dissident

Dissident” has Latin roots that mean “sitting apart,” as in “disagreeing: having thoughts or opinions that ‘sit apart’ from those of other people.

Dissident” most often means “one who disagrees.” More specifically, a dissident is a person who formally or publicly disagrees with the ideas or rules put in place by the people in charge (usually the government).

Dissident” can also be an adjective, meaning “having or showing formal disagreement.

Part of speech:
most often a noun, the countable kind (“these dissidents condemn that law”); but also an adjective (“these dissident writers”).

Other forms:
dissidents, dissidence.

how to use it:
This word is formal and common. We find it most often in talk of politics: that is, you refer to people as dissidents when you mean that they openly criticize–or at least question–the way the government does things.

The tone can be positive, negative, or neutral, depending on whether you think the dissidents are heroes, scoundrels, or something in between.

We most often use “dissident” as a noun, often in the plural, referring to certain groups of people as dissidents.

Sometimes we tack on an adjective for clarity: “they’re political dissidents.

Finally, we can use “dissident” as an adjective to talk about dissident types of people, like dissident writers, journalists, or scientists; as well as dissident groups, like dissident sects or factions; or even dissident views, voices, beliefs, sentiments, etc.

“Guo Wengui… had landed on China’s most-wanted list, accused of bribery, fraud and money laundering. He was also a dissident and fierce critic of Beijing, seeking political asylum in the United States.”
— David Barboza, New York Times, 4 December 2018

“I had moved from the role of a gadfly to one of the powers that I had been rebelling against. In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility. As a member of the executive, I had to weigh arguments and make decisions, and expect to be criticized by rebels like myself.”
— Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela, 1995

Roman Protasevich: Belarus dissident seized from Ryanair plane
– BBC News June 4, 2021