intractable

adjective
in·​trac·​ta·​ble | \ (ˌ)in-ˈtrak-tə-bəl \

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 \ noun
intractably \ (ˌ)in-​ˈtrak-​tə-​blē \ 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

The sense that, at every turn, this important project could fall apart — due to long intractable disputes between Israelis and Palestinians, leaks to the press, or (God forbid) the Americans butting in. Misha Berson, The Seattle Times, "At ACT Theatre, ‘Oslo’ finds crackling drama in back-channel negotiations," 23 Oct. 2018 But some of the issues are truly intractable issues, Syria, one, Ukraine the other. Fox News, "Trump escalates trade war tensions with tariff threat," 24 June 2018 Particularly when the idea comes from a precocious wunderkind college dropout claiming to have solved some intractable problem that the entire scientific establishment thinks impossible. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "The downfall of Theranos, from the journalist who made it happen," 15 July 2018 Opponents stand ready to fight any expansion of the law known as the Compassionate Use Program, which lets some Texans with intractable epilepsy use low-THC cannabis oil. Anna M. Tinsley, star-telegram, "More marijuana in Texas? Why that question is lighting up Republicans," 14 June 2018 By unleashing a wave of student anger and activism, the slaughter in Parkland may be shaking up the intractable American gun debate. Frank Rich, Daily Intelligencer, "Donald Trump Will Never Cross the NRA," 22 Feb. 2018 But the most intractable problem is the continuing Amazon effect: E-commerce allows retailers to reach consumers with fewer shops. Stephen Wilmot, WSJ, "Amazon Is Bigger Problem Than Brexit for U.K. Property," 15 Nov. 2018 The move brings a glimmer of hope to solve one of the bloodiest and most intractable conflicts in the Horn of Africa between two countries closely bound by ties of language, religion and ethnicity. Paul Schemm, Washington Post, "Eritrea breaks silence and responds to Ethiopia peace overtures, will send delegation," 20 June 2018 This was a throwaway line, said not to be taken seriously but to reinforce a bond with those who most definitely were not idiots and who strove to find intelligent solutions to intractable problems despite the odds. WSJ, "Dean Acheson, My Father, Really Was an Anglophile," 25 Oct. 2018

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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Last Updated

11 Jan 2019

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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

: not easily managed, controlled, or solved

: not easily relieved or cured

intractable

adjective
in·​trac·​ta·​ble | \ (ˈ)in-ˈtrak-tə-bəl \

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 \ noun, plural intractabilities

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