Mutiny is a word that has brought fear to the most powerful empires in the world. Mutiny is when soldiers and sailors refuse to obey their commanders, often killing or imprisoning them. Mutiny can spread through whole armies and navies, throwing governments into crisis. No wonder that nations have always taken harsh measures to punish mutinous leaders. The ancient Romans executed every tenth man from an army unit that had mutinied. In the British navy, mutineers were normally hanged. However, one of history’s most famous mutinies did not happen to a whole army or navy, it happened on a single small ship, H.M.S. Bounty. H.M.S. Bounty set sail from England in December 1787. It was a small cramped vessel, uncomfortable during a long voyage. Its goal was to sail to the South Pacific and bring back Tahitian breadfruit plants. The government hoped that breadfruit would provide a cheap food for black slaves in the British West Indies. The captain of the Bounty was William Bligh, a veteran of many voyages. His crew, however, was largely made up of inexperienced young men. There was no room on the ship for soldiers or marines, so Bligh, as the only commissioned officer, had the difficult task of maintaining order. After a long and difficult trip, the Bounty finally arrived in Tahiti in October 1788. Free from the constraints of life aboard ship, the young men enjoyed life on the tropical island with the friendly natives. Many of the sailors established relationships with island women. Meanwhile, the collection of breadfruit plants for the homeward voyage continued. In April 1789, Captain Bligh decided that it was time to return to England. The breadfruit plants were loaded on the deck, making the ship cramped indeed. The Bounty set sail and would no doubt have reached England again, except for the turmoil in the mind of one of its young officers. Fletcher Christian was 24 years old, of dark complexion, and from a good family. As the Bounty pulled further from Tahiti, Fletcher seemed to have decided that he didn’t want to return to England. Tahiti had been an earthly paradise, and now long months of discomfort aboard ship awaited him. He was too far from Tahiti to return by himself. He would need the Bounty. On April 28, 1789, some of Fletcher Christian’s friends seized control of the ship. Captain Bligh and eighteen sailors who supported him were put in a small open boat with limited food and water. Meanwhile, Christian and his 24 followers sailed back to Tahiti. Eventually, Fletcher Christian would sail the Bounty to the uninhabited Pitcairn Islands, far to the south of the shipping lanes. Meanwhile, Bligh and his loyal followers sailed in their open boat almost the width of the Pacific Ocean. They suffered from thirst, hunger and sickness, as well as hostile natives. Finally, they reached Timor in Indonesia in June and eventually made their way to the capital, Batavia. When they returned to England, Captain Bligh was first greeted as a hero. Soon, however, public attitudes changed. The legend began that Bligh was a cruel tyrant who had caused the mutiny by harsh treatment of his men. Although Bligh had a temper, and was not very tactful, this does not appear to be the whole story. In fact, it is the controversy over who is to blame for the mutiny – Bligh or Christian – that has kept the story alive for more than 200 years.
An officer in the armed forces who has a higher rank, such as a captain or a general
A military officer who has a commission
A thing that limits or restricts something, or your freedom to do something
Constraints of time/money/spaceFinancial/economic/legal/political constraintsConstraint on something This decision will impose serious constraints on all schools.
Usage note: limit
Restriction, control, constraint, restraint, limitationThese are all words for something that limits what you can do or what can happen.
Limit the greatest or smallest amount of something that is allowed:
The EU has set strict limits on pollution levels.
The speed limit
Restriction (rather formal) a rule or law that limits what you can do:
There are no restrictions on the amount of money you can withdraw.
Control (often in compounds) the act of limiting or managing something; a method of doing this:
Constraint (rather formal) a fact or decision that limits what you can do:
We have to work within severe constraints of time and money.
Restraint (rather formal) a decision, a rule, an idea, etc. that limits what you can do; the act of limiting something because it is necessary or sensible to do so:
The government has imposed export restraints on some products.
The unions are unlikely to accept any sort of wage restraint.
Limitation the act or process of limiting something; a rule, fact or condition that limits something:
They would resist any limitation of their powers.
Restriction, constraint, restraint or limitation?These are all things that limit what you can do. A restriction is rule or law that is made by somebody in authority. A constraint is something that exists rather than something that is made, although it may exist as a result of somebody’s decision. A restraint is also something that exists: it can exist outside yourself, as the result of somebody else’s decision; but it can also exist inside you, as a fear of what other people may think or as your own feeling about what is acceptable: moral/social/cultural restraints. A limitation is more general and can be a rule that somebody makes or a fact or condition that exists.limits/restrictions/controls/constraints/restraints/limitations on something
Limits/limitations to something
Severe limits/restrictions/controls/constraints/restraints/limitationstight limits/restrictions/controls/constraints
To impose/remove limits/restrictions/controls/constraints/restraints/limitationsto lift restrictions/controls/constraints/restraints
[Countable] something that limits your freedom to do what you want [= restriction]
Constraint on Constraints on spending have forced the company to rethink its plans.
The constraints of family life
Financial/environmental/political etc constraints There have been financial and political constraints on development.
Impose/place constraints on somebody/something
Constraints imposed on teachers by large class sizes
1 a: the act of constraining
b: the state of being checked, restricted, or compelled to avoid or perform some action
The constraint and monotony of a monastic life — Matthew Arnold
c: a constraining condition, agency, or force : check
Put legal constraints on the board’s activitie
2 a: repression of one’s own feelings, behavior, or actions
b: a sense of being constrained : embarrassment
Examples of constraintLack of funding has been a major constraint on the building’s design.
They demand freedom from constraint.
They refuse to work under constraint any longer.
Synonyms: continence, discipline, discretion, inhibition, refrainment, repression, reserve, restraint, self-command, self-control, self-restraint, suppression
Antonyms: disinhibition, incontinence, unconstraint
A state of great anxiety and confusion
Emotional/mental/political turmoilHis statement threw the court into turmoil.
Her mind was in (a) turmoil.
She felt much calmer after the turmoil of recent weeks.
The prospect of another week of political turmoil
Ashley gazed at him, her thoughts in turmoil.
A state or condition of extreme confusion, agitation, or commotion
Examples of turmoilThe country has been in turmoil for the past 10 years.
A period of political turmoil
His life has been in a constant turmoil.
Synonyms: disquiet, restiveness, restlessness, unrest, uneasiness, uniqueness
Antonyms: calm, ease, peace, peacefulness, quiet, tranquility
1 the natural color and condition of the skin on a person’s face
A pale/bad complexion
2 the general character of something
A move which changed the political complexion of the country
Drinking water is good for the complexion.
She was fair-complexioned with blonde hair.
1: the combination of the hot, cold, moist, and dry qualities held in medieval physiology to determine the quality of a body
2a: an individual complex of ways of thinking or feeling
b: a complex of attitudes and inclinations
3: the hue or appearance of the skin and especially of the face
A dark complexion
4: overall aspect or character
By changing the complexion of the legislative branch — Trevor Armbrister
Examples of compilation
She has a dark complexion.
All of the children had healthy complexions.
The complexion of the neighborhood has changed over the years.
Synonyms: color, coloring
Careful not to say or do anything that will annoy or upset other people
That wasn’t a very tactful thing to say!
I tried to find a tactful way of telling her the truth.
It might be more tactful if you didn’t come to the wedding.
Not likely to upset or embarrass other people [≠ tactless]:
There was no tactful way of phrasing what he wanted to say.
A tactful man
Examples of tactfulHe gave a tactful critique of her story.
It was tactful of her not to criticize me in front of my boss.
Synonyms: diplomatic, politic
Antonyms: impolitic, tactless, undiplomatic, and untactful
Controversy (over/about/surrounding somebody/something) public discussion and argument about something that many people strongly disagree about, disapprove of, or are shocked by
To arouse/cause controversyA bitter controversy over/about the site of the new airport
The controversy surrounding his latest movie
The President resigned amid considerable controversy.
A serious argument about something that involves many people and continues for a long time:
A political controversy
The controversy surrounding Skinner’s theories
Cause/provoke/arouse controversy The judges’ decision provoked controversy.
Controversy over/about The controversy over campaign-finance issues
Controversy arose (=began) over the use of the chemicals on crops.
A discussion marked especially by the expression of opposing views
Examples of controversy
The decision aroused much controversy among the students.
The new movie is a subject of controversy.
There is controversy surrounding the team’s decision to trade the star pitcher.
The controversy is over whether he should be fired or not.
A controversy arose over the new law.
Synonyms: altercation, battle royal, brawl, contretemps, argument, cross fire, disagreement, dispute, donnybrook, falling-out, fight, hassle, imbroglio, kick up, misunderstanding, quarrel, rhubarb, row, scrap, set-to, spat, squabble, tiff, wrangle
Antonyms: accord, agreement, consensus, harmony, unanimity