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

Example Sentences

The child is very headstrong. He is known for his headstrong behavior.
Recent Examples on the Web Those horns and your headstrong nature are there to help you through adversity and bring you into greener pastures. Meghan Rose, Glamour, 1 Mar. 2023 Emma, the protagonist, quickly assumes a maternal role for the resourceful and headstrong children, Tina (Scarlet Reyes), her scrappy brother, Shulo (Arturo Perez), and the youngest and doe-eyed of the three, Cuki (Euris Javiel). Marjua Estevez, refinery29.com, 27 Feb. 2023 Those horns and your headstrong nature are there to help you through adversity and bring you into greener pastures. Meghan Rose, Glamour, 1 Mar. 2023 Sebastian Ballister is the notorious Marquess of Dain; Jessica Trent is a headstrong young woman who wants to save her brother from Ballister's influence. Town & Country, 19 Feb. 2023 Shining brightest in light comedies, the blond, blue-eyed actress appeared as a shy beauty contestant from Montana in Vincente Minnelli’s The Courtship of Eddie’s Father (1963), portrayed a headstrong nun in Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows! Mike Barnes, The Hollywood Reporter, 17 Feb. 2023 Cristina Yang was the headstrong, super-smart, no-nonsense intern who'd do just about anything to succeed. Andrea Wurzburger, Peoplemag, 12 Feb. 2023 Over the course of four films, her character transformed from an everyday teen into a headstrong leader of a rebellion against the Capitol and its titular Gladiator-style death matches. Emlyn Travis, EW.com, 3 Nov. 2022 Interpreted as an assertion of Catherine’s rights as queen, the cipher aligns with the historical record, which is filled with examples of her headstrong nature. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian Magazine, 12 July 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'headstrong.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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 22 Mar. 2023.

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

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

Challenging Standardized Test Words, Vol. 2

  • a pencil broken in half on top of a test answer sheet
  • The business’s new computer system proved not to be a panacea.
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?