“Usually he used his recliner to relax at the day’s end, but today he was too restive to do so.”

What is the best definition of restive?

Check your answer!

Choice A - Impatient or in an annoyed state
Choice B - Worn out or in a state of exhaustion
Choice C - On edge or in a tense state
Choice D - Relaxed or in a state of repose


Restive (adjective) – in a tense state: restless; or, stubbornly resistant to control: unruly

GRE pro tips:

Oddly enough, being restive is nearly the opposite of being resting and very similar to being restless. (Note it’s also quite different than being restful, which describes something calming.) You know the saying: “the natives are getting restless”? Well, you could also accurately say the natives are getting restive. Restless people are edgy, fidgety, or uneasy. Likewise, restive people are in a tense or edgy state (perhaps, but not necessarily, from a lack of rest). You’ve likely felt restive the night before an exam. 

However, someone who is restive may also be unwilling to submit to discipline or follow orders, like an insubordinate soldier or an intractable child. And it’s not just people that can be restive. A restive horse, for instance, is skittish and difficult to command – he may even refuse to take a jump. In restive areas of the world – such as Venezuela – the entire region is restive and on edge. And when such a restive populace is so desperate for change, they may become unruly or insubordinate as a result.  

Example sentences:

“The band was hours late, so the audience grew restive – they were chanting for refunds and charging the stage.”

“Her horse was normally an enthusiastic jumper, but that day he became restive, throwing his head and refusing to jump.”