Simple Definition of intractable
: not easily managed, controlled, or solved
: not easily relieved or cured
Examples of intractable in a sentence
Contrary to the idea of black holes sucking everything, even light, into inconceivable nothingness, Hawking proposed that there was one thing that could escape a black hole's intractable grip: thermal radiation … —Bruno Maddox, Discover, September 2006
Sepsis, which is what happens to the body when an infection goes bad, is one of mankind's oldest and most intractable foes. —Leon Jaroff, Time, 24 July 2000
But now anesthesiologists have begun turning to an herb to help treat a deadly and often intractable lung condition that affects hundreds of thousands of people a year. —Eric Nagourney, New York Times, 26 Oct. 1999
a patient experiencing intractable pain
<an intractable child who deliberately does the opposite of whatever he is told>
Did You Know?
Intractable simply means "untreatable", and even comes from the same root. The word may describe both people and conditions. A cancer patient may suffer intractable pain that doctors are unable to treat. An intractable alcoholic goes back to the bottle immediately after "drying out". Homelessness, though it hardly existed thirty years ago, is now sometimes regarded as an intractable problem.
Origin and Etymology of intractable
Latin intractabilis, from in- + tractabilis tractable
First Known Use: 1531
Synonym Discussion of intractable
Medical Definition of intractable
1: not easily managed or controlled (as by antibiotics or psychotherapy) <an intractable child> <activity against many intractable Proteus and Pseudomonas species of bacteria—Annual Report Pfizer>
2: not easily relieved or cured <intractable pain> <intractable bleeding in duodenal ulcer—Journal of the American Medical Association>
intractability\(ˌ)in-ˌtrak-tə-ˈbil-ət-ē\play noun plural
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