"revolt" vs. "uprising"


New Member
How could one differentiate “revolt” and “uprising”, which timpeac mentions as synonyms in a thread about the difference between “rebel,” “revolt,” and “insurrection”?
“Of the top of my head, you rebel and revolt against something - a regime for example. Both seem synonymous for an uprising of people aiming to overthrow that regime” writes timpeac.
What about the quotation below, from Prashad and Amar, “Introduction,” in Dispatches from the Arab Spring, New Delhi: LeftWord, 2013, p. 11?
“Our book recognizes the currency of the expression Arab Spring but styles these transformations more in terms of a new Arab Revolt, al-Thawra al-Arabiyya, a nod certainly to the great uprisings of 1916–18 and 1936–39…”
Does the usage above suggest that there is a supposed difference of meaning or is it simply meant to benefit from the abundance of vocabulary?
  • Schimmelreiter

    Senior Member
    An uprising enjoys broad support (cf. popular uprising in the sense of the people's uprising) whilst a minority or even a small group, say a group of officers, may revolt against the ruler.

    Nazi Germany never saw an uprising but there was a revolt of officers aiming to kill Hitler.


    New Member
    Hindi & English - India
    An addition to Schimmelreiter’s answer: If you check the etymologies of the words, you would find that ‘revolt’ is by people who had once pledged allegiance, but now withdraw or betray (revolt = turn around). So, for example, the revolt may be simply because a section of the army considers that the pay is not good enough. ‘Uprising’, on the other hand, is made up of ‘up-rising’, that is, a group which was once oppressed ("down") has had enough and tries to overthrow the system. In other words, there can be no uprising without prior oppression (real or perceived).


    Senior Member

    My tuppence-worth: "revolt", "[up]rising", "rebellion", "insurrection" and (to a lesser extent) "mutiny" have overlapping senses and nuances, and any attempt sharply to distinguish them in terms either of sense or flavour is doomed to failure. The movement in England in AD 1381 usually referred to as the "Peasants' Revolt" is also sometimes called "Wat Tyler's Rebellion" or "The Great Rising".

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