defiance-n; 3 Senses

Sense Number 1: disposition to resist, oppose, disobey

Commentary: DEFIANCE[+state][+disposition][+assertive][+willingness][+oppose]
NOTE: refers to an attitude, a -potential- for disobedience and opposition, not an actual instance or act of it.

The teacher saw the look of defiance in the youth's eyes.
Mary felt that her staff carried out the request with an attitude of defiance.
The defiance in the child's face dissolved as John offered him an ice cream cone.

PropBank: defiance.01
WordNet 3.0 Sense Numbers: 1

Sense Number 2: an act of open resistance, bold disobedience

Commentary: DEFIANCE[+action][+social][+resistance][+open]
NOTE: refers to a public act of resistance, disobedience

The demonstration was held in defiance of the state's proclamation.
The mule stood firmly in defiance as the farmer pulled and pulled on his tether.
They are fishing in these waters in blatant defiance of international law.
Any acts of defiance are quickly crushed by the dictator's security forces.

PropBank: defiance.01
WordNet 3.0 Sense Numbers: 2, 3

Sense Number 3: despite

Commentary: Idiom: in_defiance_of
NOTE: there is no intentional agent in an act/state of willful disobedience.

These experimental results are in seeming defiance of the laws of physics.
The scheme seemed to work in defiance of common sense.

PropBank: NM
WordNet 0.0 Sense Numbers: Idiom_1