adjective re·cal·ci·trant \ri-ˈkal-sə-trənt\

: stubbornly refusing to obey rules or orders

Full Definition of RECALCITRANT

:  obstinately defiant of authority or restraint
a :  difficult to manage or operate
b :  not responsive to treatment
c :  resistant <this subject is recalcitrant both to observation and to experiment — G. G. Simpson>
recalcitrant noun


  1. <the manager worried that the recalcitrant employee would try to undermine his authority>
  2. <a heart-to-heart talk with the recalcitrant youth revealed that he had a troubled life at home>
  3. But Smith managed to rally and to learn, through trial and error, how to milk what he needed out of an often recalcitrant medical system. —Gina Kolata, New York Times Book Review, 7 Sep. 1997


Late Latin recalcitrant-, recalcitrans, present participle of recalcitrare to be stubbornly disobedient, from Latin, to kick back, from re- + calcitrare to kick, from calc-, calx heel
First Known Use: 1843

Synonym Discussion of RECALCITRANT

unruly, ungovernable, intractable, refractory, recalcitrant, willful, headstrong mean not submissive to government or control. unruly implies lack of discipline or incapacity for discipline and often connotes waywardness or turbulence of behavior <unruly children>. ungovernable implies either an escape from control or guidance or a state of being unsubdued and incapable of controlling oneself or being controlled by others <ungovernable rage>. intractable suggests stubborn resistance to guidance or control <intractable opponents of the hazardous-waste dump>. refractory stresses resistance to attempts to manage or to mold <special schools for refractory children>. recalcitrant suggests determined resistance to or defiance of authority <acts of sabotage by a recalcitrant populace>. willful implies an obstinate determination to have one's own way <a willful disregard for the rights of others>. headstrong suggests self-will impatient of restraint, advice, or suggestion <a headstrong young cavalry officer>.
Medical Dictionary


adjective re·cal·ci·trant \ri-ˈkal-sə-trənt\

Medical Definition of RECALCITRANT

:  not responsive to treatment <severe recalcitrant psoriasis> <recalcitrant warts>


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