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

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web

This transformation of one question into another is common in mathematics and can often provide a new perspective on a seemingly intractable situation. Quanta Magazine, "A Proof That Some Spaces Can’t Be Cut," 13 Jan. 2015 There are some objectively terrible people out there, many of whom become someone's son- or daughter-in-law, of course -- a sad and intractable problem. Carolyn Hax, oregonlive, "Carolyn Hax: Mom in a huff about being asked to stay at hotel for visit with son," 15 Sep. 2019 There are some objectively terrible people out there, many of whom become someone’s son- or daughter-in-law, of course — a sad and intractable problem. Carolyn Hax, The Mercury News, "Carolyn Hax: Stay in a hotel instead of my son’s home? I’m not that person.," 15 Sep. 2019 Most polling suggests that an election this fall could return another hung Parliament, with the same intractable differences. Sam Knight, The New Yorker, "Boris Johnson’s Brexit Carnage," 6 Sep. 2019 Pinyon-juniper removal provides a unique focal point for intractable land-use controversies around greater sage grouse conservation, grazing rights, and logging. Jennifer Oldham, National Geographic, "Forests on Utah’s public lands may soon be torn out. Here’s why.," 3 Sep. 2019 After three months of protest, Hong Kong's political crisis appears increasingly intractable. Caitlin Hu, CNN, "Hong Kong girds for airport "stress test" after violent night," 1 Sep. 2019 New York has a deeply divided school system For years, lawmakers in deeply blue, proudly progressive New York City have grappled with a seemingly intractable problem: Its schools are among the most segregated in the nation. New York Times, "The Plan to Scrap New York’s Gifted Programs: 5 Takeaways," 27 Aug. 2019 These individuals represent a particularly intractable and rapidly growing problem for governments across the world. The Economist, "Confessions of an Islamic State fighter," 16 Aug. 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.

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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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Statistics for intractable

Last Updated

18 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for intractable

The first known use of intractable was in 1531

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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

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