intractable

adjective
in·​trac·​ta·​ble | \ (ˌ)in-ˈtrak-tə-bəl How to pronounce intractable (audio) \

Definition of intractable

1 : not easily governed, managed, or directed intractable problems
2 : not easily manipulated or shaped intractable metal
3 : not easily relieved or cured intractable pain

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from intractable

intractability \ (ˌ)in-​ˌtrak-​tə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce intractability (audio) \ noun
intractably \ (ˌ)in-​ˈtrak-​tə-​blē How to pronounce intractably (audio) \ adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for intractable

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 intractable in a Sentence

Contrary to the idea of black holes sucking everything, even light, into inconceivable nothingness, Hawking proposed that there was one thing that could escape a black hole's intractable grip: thermal radiation … — Bruno Maddox, Discover, September 2006 Sepsis, which is what happens to the body when an infection goes bad, is one of mankind's oldest and most intractable foes. — Leon Jaroff, Time, 24 July 2000 But now anesthesiologists have begun turning to an herb to help treat a deadly and often intractable lung condition that affects hundreds of thousands of people a year. — Eric Nagourney, New York Times, 26 Oct. 1999 a patient experiencing intractable pain an intractable child who deliberately does the opposite of whatever he is told
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

But equating economic security with national security carries risks, including straining relations with foreign governments and turning already contentious issues — like trade practices — into intractable disputes. New York Times, "Trump Mixes Economic and National Security, Plunging the U.S. Into Multiple Fights," 8 June 2019 Some theorists argue that the new particles are bags of four and five quarks, bound together through the exchange of quantum particles called gluons, adding a new wrinkle to the often intractable theory of the strong force. Adrian Cho, Science | AAAS, "Exotic particles called pentaquarks may be less weird than previously thought," 5 June 2019 For juveniles, the conditions include intractable neuropathic pain and Tourette syndrome only if standard medical treatments of either have failed. Zach Murdock, courant.com, "State physicians recommend 5 new conditions for medical marijuana program, delay decision on addition of chronic pain," 5 June 2019 Because it’s been tied to a resolution of the larger, so-far-intractable Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Bloomberg.com, "Why Palestinians Demand a ‘Right of Return’ to Israel," 14 May 2018 Ethiopia invoked technical and bureaucratic justifications to derail the implementation of the boundary commission's decision and ultimately frustrated the process, setting the scene for the intractable stalemate. Awol K. Allo, CNN, "Ethiopia's new Prime Minister has had a stellar two months, can he keep it up?," 7 June 2018 The donors are a group of lifelong and new philanthropists who believe in making big bets to advance social change and address some of society’s most intractable problems. Julie Cordua, Marie Claire, ""How I Won Millions of Dollars from TED to End Child Pornography"," 17 Apr. 2019 PERPETUAL POLLUTION Problems at some sites are intractable. Matthew Brown, The Seattle Times, "50M gallons of polluted water pours daily from US mine sites," 20 Feb. 2019 The agency’s intractable problems were highlighted in a Journal investigation in 2017. Dan Frosch, WSJ, "South Dakota Senator Moves for Evaluation of Indian Health Service," 15 Feb. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'intractable.' 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 intractable

1531, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for intractable

Latin intractabilis, from in- + tractabilis tractable

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about intractable

Statistics for intractable

Last Updated

14 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for intractable

The first known use of intractable was in 1531

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for intractable

intractable

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of intractable

formal
: not easily managed, controlled, or solved
: not easily relieved or cured

intractable

adjective
in·​trac·​ta·​ble | \ (ˈ)in-ˈtrak-tə-bəl How to pronounce intractable (audio) \

Medical Definition of intractable

1 : not easily managed or controlled (as by antibiotics or psychotherapy) an intractable child activity against many intractable Proteus and Pseudomonas species of bacteriaAnnual Report Pfizer
2 : not easily relieved or cured intractable pain intractable bleeding in duodenal ulcerJournal of the American Medical Association

Other Words from intractable

intractability \ (ˌ)in-​ˌtrak-​tə-​ˈbil-​ət-​ē How to pronounce intractability (audio) \ noun, plural intractabilities

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on intractable

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

WORD OF THE DAY

behavior toward others

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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