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adjective ob·sti·nate \ˈäb-stə-nət\

Simple Definition of obstinate

  • : refusing to change your behavior or your ideas

  • : difficult to deal with, remove, etc.

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of obstinate

  1. 1 :  perversely adhering to an opinion, purpose, or course in spite of reason, arguments, or persuasion <obstinate resistance to change>

  2. 2 :  not easily subdued, remedied, or removed <obstinate fever>

obstinately adverb
obstinateness noun

Examples of obstinate in a sentence

  1. More than 30 cities had sued the gun industry for the costs of violence on their streets. Cuomo had brashly stepped into the legal swamp, hoping he could be the guy to force concessions from an obstinate industry. —Matt Bai, Newsweek, 5 Feb. 2001

  2. With The New York Times calling Klein “a weak nominee” and editorializing that the administration should withdraw him, and with his opponents obstinate and apparently committed, he seemed for a moment to be in serious trouble. —John Heilemann, Wired, November 2000

  3. What did they know of life? All they knew was how to parrot the stock phrases of their profession and to continue to be obstinate until somebody, somewhere, paid up. —Alexander McCall Smith, The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, 1998

  4. When my father finished telling the story, he looked at me, then looked away. A moment of silence lodged between us, an old and obstinate silence. —Bernard Cooper, Harper's, August 1992

  5. his obstinate refusal to obey

  6. My parents remain as obstinate as ever.

Origin of obstinate

Middle English, from Anglo-French obstinat, Latin obstinatus, past participle of obstinare to be resolved, from ob- in the way + -stinare (akin to stare to stand)

First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of obstinate

obstinate, dogged, stubborn, pertinacious, mulish mean fixed and unyielding in course or purpose. obstinate implies usually an unreasonable persistence <an obstinate proponent of conspiracy theories>. dogged suggests an admirable often tenacious and unwavering persistence <pursued the story with dogged perseverance>. stubborn implies sturdiness in resisting change which may or may not be admirable <a person too stubborn to admit error>. pertinacious suggests an annoying or irksome persistence <a pertinacious salesclerk refusing to take no for an answer>. mulish implies a thoroughly unreasonable obstinacy <a mulish determination to have his own way>.

OBSTINATE Defined for Kids


adjective ob·sti·nate \ˈäb-stə-nət\

Definition of obstinate for Students

  1. 1 :  sticking stubbornly to an opinion or purpose

  2. 2 :  difficult to deal with or get rid of <an obstinate fever>

obstinately adverb

Medical Dictionary


adjective ob·sti·nate \ˈäb-stə-nət\

Medical Definition of obstinate

  1. 1:  adhering to an opinion, purpose, or course in spite of reason, arguments, or persuasion

  2. 2:  not easily subdued, remedied, or removed <obstinate fever>

Seen and Heard

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the range of perception or understanding

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