Restive: A word that means no rest

The adjective ‘restive’ is one of those English words that seem to mean the opposite of what they actually denote.

When you are restive, you are ‘unable to stay still’ or ‘unwilling to be controlled’.


  1.  He was so bored that he remained restive throughout the lecture.
  2. Let’s talk to the restive ones before the situation escalates into something serious.
  3. His partner was restive throughout the interrogation.

From old French restif, meaning ‘motionless’, restive got its new meaning in the 1600s.

Other synonyms for restive include restless, tense, fidgety, agitated and unruly.

One thought on “Restive: A word that means no rest

  1. Anonymous says:

    Restif subjects to restive subjects to no subjects British Empire classic example.

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