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 relieved or cured intractable pain
3 : not easily manipulated or shaped intractable metal

Other Words from intractable

intractability \ (ˌ)in-​ˌtrak-​tə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce intractable (audio) \ noun
intractably \ (ˌ)in-​ˈtrak-​tə-​blē How to pronounce intractable (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
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Recent Examples on the Web Harris has also been tasked with handling some of the most controversial and intractable issues facing the administration — deterring migration from Central America and countering Republican attempts to restrict voting access. Noah Bierman, Los Angeles Times, 19 Nov. 2021 Historically, the right has considered a great deal of human variation to be genetically determined and often intractable, meaning social intervention can’t remedy genetic inequalities. Washington Post, 19 Nov. 2021 Given the intractable connections between the drug and device industry and medicine, many of my colleagues responded harshly to my call for the need for a more stringent bar for regulatory approval of medical devices. Haider J. Warraich, STAT, 5 Nov. 2021 These online battles are often pitched, polarized and intractable. Paul Blanchard, Rolling Stone, 2 Nov. 2021 Many of those problems seemed almost intractable, but employees dutifully offered potential fixes. Steven Levy, Wired, 25 Oct. 2021 One of the main features of the disorder is intractable diarrhea. Korin Miller, Health.com, 22 Nov. 2021 The lack of agreement underscored the reality that the problems between the two countries appear largely intractable, despite an urgent need for coöperation on issues such as climate change. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, 20 Nov. 2021 But as the dimensions grow, these problems quickly appear to become intractable. Adrienne Bernhard, Popular Mechanics, 26 Oct. 2021

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.

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First Known Use of intractable

1531, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for intractable

Latin intractabilis, from in- + tractabilis tractable

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Time Traveler for intractable

Time Traveler

The first known use of intractable was in 1531

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Dictionary Entries Near intractable

intracrystalline

intractable

intractableness

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Statistics for intractable

Last Updated

25 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Intractable.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/intractable. Accessed 27 Nov. 2021.

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More Definitions for intractable

intractable

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of intractable

: 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 intractable (audio) \ noun, plural intractabilities

More from Merriam-Webster on intractable

Nglish: Translation of intractable for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of intractable for Arabic Speakers

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