Learn English – “Rebellion” vs. “revolution”


What is the difference between rebellion and revolution? These two words seem almost the same, except that rebellion is generally more distasteful.

Dictionary.com lists definitions of rebellion:

re·bel·lion   [ri-bel-yuhn]

1. open, organized, and armed resistance to one's government or ruler.
2. resistance to or defiance of any authority, control, or tradition.

and those of revolution:

rev·o·lu·tion   [rev-uhloo-shuhn]

1. an overthrow or repudiation and the thorough replacement of an established government or political system by the people governed.

Best Answer

I think the dictionary says it all.

A revolution can be bloodless, without rebellion.

And rebellion being an organized armed resistance may or may not lead to a revolution. Even the aim of a rebellion may not be a revolution at all: it may be for example to get certain privileges from the government, such as changed taxes, lifting ban on a certain worship, secession of a region, removal of a notorious minister or resignation of the current king without ending a dynasty.

That said, a revolution is not necessarily a successful rebellion.