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
Recent Examples on the Web Williams was fired with 43 games left in the 2001 season and Cumberland was pitching coach under Joe Kerrigan for 19 days before their differences became intractable. Peter Abraham,, 14 May 2022 Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals is developing new medicines for intractable diseases by silencing the genes that cause them. Ricardo Torres, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 9 May 2022 In response, the Kremlin has begun priming its population for the possibility of a wider and more intractable conflict. Ann M. Simmons, WSJ, 1 May 2022 The two sides of our most intractable political disagreements are not always acting in bad faith here. Damon Linker, The Week, 26 Apr. 2022 Several deadly attacks on Hazaras have been attributed to the Islamic State in Khorasan Province or IS-K, which is hostile to the Taliban and proven to be an intractable security challenge. The Salt Lake Tribune, 25 Apr. 2022 However, the system was originally designed with rare and intractable diseases in mind. Compiled Democrat-gazette Staff From Wire Reports, Arkansas Online, 24 Apr. 2022 And yet for as many as there are, notably few have drawn from what is arguably America’s most consequential (and most intractable) criminal justice phenomenon. Joshua Alston, Variety, 22 Apr. 2022 But the century-old conflict remains as intractable as ever. Joseph Krauss, ajc, 8 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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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The first known use of intractable was in 1531

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Last Updated

17 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Intractable.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for intractable


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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