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ad·​a·​mant ˈa-də-mənt How to pronounce adamant (audio)
: unshakable or insistent especially in maintaining a position or opinion : unyielding
an adamant insistence on doing things his own way
was adamant about making the change


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: a stone (such as a diamond) formerly believed to be of impenetrable hardness
: an unbreakable or extremely hard substance
"Trust not in your gold and silver, trust not in your high fortresses; for, though the walls were of iron, and the fortresses of adamant, the Most High shall put terror into your hearts and weakness into your councils …"George Eliot

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The Meaning and History of Adamant

A person who is adamant about something has formed an opinion or taken a position that is not going to change because the person is determined to keep that opinion or position. If you're adamant about a decision you've made, no one can convince you that it was a mistake. If you're adamant that something be done (or not be done), you insist that it be (or not be) so.

The adjective dates to the early 1800s but it comes from a much older—and now much less common—noun. An adamant is an imaginary stone of impenetrable hardness. Historically, the word applied to actual stones (and other substances) believed to be impenetrable; in the 17th century the word was used as a synonym of diamond. The noun adamant comes from a Latin word meaning "material of extreme hardness, diamond."

One side note: however adamant the Adams in your life tend to be, the name Adam is not related etymologically to the word adamant. Adam comes from the Hebrew word 'āḏām, meaning "human being."

Choose the Right Synonym for adamant

inflexible, obdurate, adamant mean unwilling to alter a predetermined course or purpose.

inflexible implies rigid adherence or even servile conformity to principle.

inflexible in their demands

obdurate stresses hardness of heart and insensitivity to appeals for mercy or the influence of divine grace.

obdurate in his refusal to grant clemency

adamant implies utter immovability in the face of all temptation or entreaty.

adamant that the work should continue

Examples of adamant in a Sentence

Adjective I am keen not to share my genetic code with my insurer, I am keen that my doctor should know it and use it, but I am adamant to the point of fanaticism that it is my decision. Matt Ridley, Genome, 1999
Arrive to find child physically intact but … adamant that he will not remain another minute in Ski Bunny program. Despite their 'professionalism,' staff members eagerly concur. Christopher Buckley, New Yorker, 10 Mar. 1997
In the years following the First World War, the debts of our wartime allies and others came to be considered a serious burden on international commerce and well-being. Calvin Coolidge was adamant on repayment. John Kenneth Galbraith, New Yorker, 21 Apr. 1986
We've tried to talk him into coming with us, but he's adamant about staying here. remained adamant about getting the actor's autograph even after he had disappeared backstage
Recent Examples on the Web
But as Hall became adamant on accusations of fraud after the 2020 election and then started claiming he was being followed, Bossie called Shafer to ask whether Hall’s claims had any validity, the person familiar with the situation said. Isaac Stanley-Becker, Anchorage Daily News, 19 Sep. 2023 The Cowboys coach is adamant that success in the NFL depends on them. David Moore, Dallas News, 15 Sep. 2023 Cowell was adamant that AGT addicts haven’t seen the last of the crooner. Lars Brandle, Billboard, 14 Sep. 2023 McCarthy orders impeachment inquiry into Biden amid pressure from hard-liners The White House is adamant that the president did nothing wrong, and that there is no evidence to suggest otherwise after an investigation into any relationship between him and Hunter Biden's business dealings. Mariam Khan, ABC News, 13 Sep. 2023 She's also been adamant about giving her sons as normal of a life as possible. Hannah Sacks, Peoplemag, 13 Sep. 2023 And, contrary to some of his most adamant critics, Musk really does seem to possess a remarkable brain for physics, engineering and business — if perhaps not for running a social media firm. Will Oremus, Washington Post, 10 Sep. 2023 Kerr is adamant her group won’t skip a beat amidst the transition behind strong senior leadership. Sam Cohn, Baltimore Sun, 31 Aug. 2023 There were serious risks if Schwarzenegger’s health languished: His doctors were particularly adamant about him exercising his lungs because of the risk posed by a potential pneumonia infection. Jon Blistein, Rolling Stone, 5 Sep. 2023
But Ballard’s adamant that there is no way to know how things will shake out once the draft begins. The Indianapolis Star, 23 Apr. 2023 The fifth-year option decision comes amid swirling rumors and even reports of the Dolphins exploring outside options at quarterback, despite Grier and McDaniel remaining adamant in their belief in Tagovailoa. David Furones, Sun Sentinel, 10 Mar. 2023 The board is responding to an electorate adamant that the city and county band together to help the thousands of people living outside. Rebecca Ellisstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 20 Dec. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'adamant.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



derivative of adamant entry 2


Middle English, "diamond, material of extreme hardness, lodestone," borrowed from Anglo-French, borrowed from Latin adamant-, adamās "material of extreme hardness, diamond," borrowed from Greek adamant-, adámas, probably a borrowing from a substratal or Near Eastern source, conformed by folk etymology to a- a- entry 2 and the stem of the verb dámnēmi "(I) tame, subdue, conquer"

First Known Use


1816, in the meaning defined above


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of adamant was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near adamant

Cite this Entry

“Adamant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
ad·​a·​mant ˈad-ə-mənt How to pronounce adamant (audio)
: an imaginary stone of great hardness
: an unbreakable or extremely hard substance


2 of 2 adjective
: firmly fixed or decided especially against something : unyielding
adamantly adverb


Middle English adamant "an imaginary stone of great hardness, diamond," from early French adamant (same meaning), from Latin adamant-, adamas "hardest metal, diamond," from Greek adamant-, adamas (same meaning) — related to diamond see Word History at diamond

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