head·​strong ˈhed-ˌstrȯŋ How to pronounce headstrong (audio)
: not easily restrained : impatient of control, advice, or suggestions
a headstrong businessman
: directed by ungovernable will
violent headstrong actions
Choose the Right Synonym for headstrong

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

Examples of headstrong in a Sentence

The child is very headstrong. He is known for his headstrong behavior.
Recent Examples on the Web Jane Austen's 'Pride and Prejudice' Feb. 7-22, 2025 This adaptation by Kate Hamill brings a new perspective to the rocky romance between the headstrong Elizabeth Bennet and uptight Mr. Darcy. Domenica Bongiovanni, The Indianapolis Star, 16 July 2024 Our heroine, in this case, is Elodie (Brown), a young and headstrong noblewoman from a starving, impoverished land who has been betrothed to the handsome Prince Henry (Nick Robinson), heir to the throne of Aurea, a wealthy kingdom across the sea. Bilge Ebiri, Vulture, 8 Mar. 2024 Murphy is content to act his age, and the movie spends some time focusing on Axel’s attempts to reconnect with his daughter, a woman as headstrong as her father. Glenn Whipp, Los Angeles Times, 2 July 2024 Chiang Kai-shek, though headstrong and manipulative, had been easier to deal with than were democratically elected politicians whose flirtation with the idea of independence provoked belligerent Chinese reactions and complicated U.S.-China relations. Ian Buruma, The New Yorker, 24 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for headstrong 

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

Word History

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near headstrong

Cite this Entry

“Headstrong.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/headstrong. Accessed 24 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


head·​strong -ˌstrȯŋ How to pronounce headstrong (audio)
: not easily controlled : wanting one's own way
a headstrong child
: directed by uncontrollable will
violent headstrong actions

More from Merriam-Webster on headstrong

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