Wait, what? Aren’t those the same thing.
Well let’s look at the definitions:
Let’s start with oppositional which comes from the word opposition.
1. the action of opposing, resisting, or combating.
2. antagonism or hostility.
3. a person or group of people opposing, criticizing, or protesting something, someone, or another group.
4. (sometimes initial capital letter) the major political party opposed to the party in power and seeking to replace it.
5. the act of placing opposite, or the state or position of being placed opposite.”
So, oppositional is a verbed noun which means resisting. What about defiant?
1. characterized by defiance; boldly resistant or challenging: a defiant attitude.”
Defiant is an adjective that means boldly resistant. So, they’re the same, right?
I guess they are pretty similar, which means that some people might grok this immediately while others might not.
To me, oppositional means being contrary for the sake of being contrary whereas defiance is a conscious act which is boldly taken. I know that some people might feel differently about it, and we could debate connotations for days on end. In fact, some of us have debated the connotations of both words.
But, for me, I used to be oppositional. I used to be the person who would go against the flow a lot of the time purely for the sake of going against the flow. Now, I choose when, why, and how to go against the flow. Those are all conscious decisions and sometimes they’re acts of defiance.