Abstract. Understanding the inner essence of the studied phenomena and processes as the goal of their scientific historical knowledge involves the use of verbal means by which the researcher is able to convey his own understanding of their nature and features, what he considers to be the most significant in them. When describing the mass popular movements in Russia, which attracted the greatest interest of historians and Russian society, a number of names were developed for them. The most common of these were riot and mutiny. In the 17th–18th centuries, these concepts, along with the concept of theft, are found in legislation, documentary material, and in the writings of historians. In the writings of public school historians, the concept of rebellion had a sharply negative connotation. Gradually, in pre-revolutionary historiography, this concept acquired a completely positive meaning. It characterized the protest of the people against the arbitrariness on the part of the authorities and landowners. In Soviet historiography, the concept of peasant war spread. In the works of modern Russian historians, the concept of rebellion has acquired meaning as a special phenomenon of the culture of the society of its time.
Keywords: language and meaning, Russian socio-historical thought, Russian rebel, the rebellion, the peasant war.