in·​flex·​i·​ble | \(ˌ)in-ˈflek-sə-bəl \

Definition of inflexible 

1 : rigidly firm in will or purpose : unyielding

2 : not readily bent : lacking or deficient in suppleness

3 : incapable of change : unalterable

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from inflexible

inflexibility \(ˌ)in-​ˌflek-​sə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē \ noun
inflexibleness \(ˌ)in-​ˈflek-​sə-​bəl-​nəs \ noun
inflexibly \(ˌ)in-​ˈflek-​sə-​blē \ adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for inflexible

inflexible, obdurate, adamant mean unwilling to alter a predetermined course or purpose. inflexible implies rigid adherence or even slavish 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

synonyms see in addition stiff

Examples of inflexible in a Sentence

the inflexible law of gravity shoes made of inflexible plastic hurt my feet

Recent Examples on the Web

These colossal vehicles were simply too expensive, complex, and inflexible for more practical uses, like today's burgeoning industry of launching satellites for scientists, businesses, and the military. Anatoly Zak, Popular Mechanics, "Russia's New Rocket Project Might Resurrect a Soviet-Era Colossus," 24 July 2018 On this point, our morality instructor was inflexible, even when a student raised a vital concern about contracting an STD. Liana Schaffner, Teen Vogue, "The Boys at Brett Kavanaugh's School Called the Girls at Mine the "Whores on the Hill" and I Believed Them," 27 Sep. 2018 None of us, now in our mid-forties and relatively accomplished in our careers, anticipated how inflexible our personalities had grown, or our need to direct the situation. Anne Slowey, Condé Nast Traveler, "Fear and Self-Loathing in the American Southwest," 25 July 2018 Overwhelmingly, women leave their STEM careers after finding that many highly technical jobs are inflexible and difficult to balance with responsibilities outside of the workplace—namely, child care and elder care. WSJ, "There Are Many Obstacles for STEM-Trained Women," 19 July 2018 At the same time, inflexible and unreformed labour markets have hampered the rise of manufacturing and low-level services, the gateway for women in other poor countries. The Economist, "Why India needs women to work," 5 July 2018 But her experience is an extreme example of what millions of Chinese people deal with in an inflexible health care system that sometimes requires patients to pay upfront for treatment. New York Times, "Want to See Your Baby? In China, It Can Cost You," 22 May 2018 To begin the work of massaging an inflexible roster while making a push toward the playoffs. Shawn Windsor, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Pistons show life and an identity with 2018 NBA draft picks," 22 June 2018 The spectacle of one boy’s agonizing battle against an inflexible bureaucracy has made Prime Minister Theresa May’s response look flat-footed, while prompting a wider debate about legalizing the drug itself for recreational use. Stephen Castle, New York Times, "Stung by a Boy’s Suffering, U.K. Reviews Medical Marijuana Rules," 19 June 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of inflexible

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for inflexible

Middle English, from Latin inflexibilis, from in- + flexibilis flexible

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about inflexible

Share inflexible

Statistics for inflexible

Last Updated

3 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for inflexible

The first known use of inflexible was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for inflexible



English Language Learners Definition of inflexible

: not easily influenced or persuaded

: not easily bent or twisted

: not easily changed


in·​flex·​i·​ble | \in-ˈflek-sə-bəl \

Kids Definition of inflexible

1 : not easily bent or twisted

2 : not easily influenced or persuaded an inflexible judge

3 : not easily changed inflexible rules

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on inflexible

What made you want to look up inflexible? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to enclose within walls

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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