There are three words that I know that refer to groups of people in the public: mob, riot and protest. What is the difference between these words? Are there other words with similar meanings? Also, are these words considered offensive?

Definitions from oxforddictionaries.com (only the revelent meanings)

Mob: a large crowd of people, especially one that is disorderly and intent on causing trouble or violence

Riot: a violent disturbance of the peace by a crowd

Protest: an organized public demonstration expressing strong objection to an official policy or course of action

  • What did you find when you looked in a dictionary? Please update the question so the community does not repeat the work you've already done! – Andrew Leach Jan 23 '14 at 13:45
  • @AndrewLeach I'm sorry. Please wait while I do it. – Theemathas Chirananthavat Jan 23 '14 at 13:47
  • 1
    OK. Meanings added. – Theemathas Chirananthavat Jan 23 '14 at 13:51

The "mob" is composed of the people causing the disturbance (the "actor(s)"). The "riot" is the "action"; that is the "violent disturbing". The "protest" is the organization of a group of people; if there is no disturbance (of the peace) then it is not a "mob" and they did not "riot". If there is a disturbance of the peace then they may be a mob, and if there is violence (usually wide-spread) then it is a riot.

  • I checked again and found that the words mob, riot and protest can be both nouns and verbs. Besides, the words mobber and rioter (and most likely includes the word protester) are valid words. Thus, this answer is invalid. I've unaccepted your answer. – Theemathas Chirananthavat Jan 26 '14 at 2:17
  • @TheemathasChirananthavat I don't mind, but it seems then your entire question is suspect. A mobber is a rioter and possibly a protester (maybe). – Elliott Frisch Jan 26 '14 at 2:26

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