verb (used without object)

  1. to differ in sentiment or opinion, especially from the majority; withhold assent; disagree (often followed by from): Two of the justices dissented from the majority decision.
  2. to disagree with the methods, goals, etc., of a political party or government; take an opposing view.
  3. to disagree with or reject the doctrines or authority of an established church.


  1. difference of sentiment or opinion.
  2. dissenting opinion.
  3. disagreement with the philosophy, methods, goals, etc., of a political party or government.
  4. separation from an established church, especially the Church of England; nonconformity.

verb (intr)

  1. to have a disagreement or withhold assent
  2. Christianity to refuse to conform to the doctrines, beliefs, or practices of an established church, and to adhere to a different system of beliefs and practices


  1. a difference of opinion
  2. Christianity separation from an established church; Nonconformism
  3. the voicing of a minority opinion in announcing the decision on a case at law; dissenting judgment

early 15c., from Latin dissentire “differ in sentiments, disagree, be at odds, contradict, quarrel,” from dis- “differently” (see dis-) + sentire “to feel, think” (see sense (n.)). Related: Dissented; dissenting. The noun is 1580s, from the verb.

Has there ever been a society which has died of dissent? Several have died of conformity in our lifetime. [Jacob Bronowski “Science and Human Values,” 1956]

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