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

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 But with the two sides staking out seemingly intractable positions for months, Mr. Murphy; Stephen M. Sweeney, the Senate president; and Craig Coughlin, the Assembly speaker, all made concessions to reach a deal. Nick Corasaniti, New York Times, "Last-Minute Budget Deal Averts Shutdown in New Jersey," 30 June 2018 Sunderland now highlights just how intractable and irreconcilable Brexit has become. Rodney Jefferson, Bloomberg.com, "The City That Defined Brexit Has Given Up," 21 June 2018 But in releasing 4:44 and (separately) confirming the rumors that Lemonade amplified to near-catastrophic effect, Jay-Z invited the nearly intractable ire of the Hive. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "Do Beyoncé Fans Have to Forgive Jay-Z?," 18 June 2018 And surely not the College Football Hall of Fame finally bending on the one pointlessly intractable rule that is keeping this man off the ballot. Greg Cote, miamiherald, "End the illogical shame and get Schnellenberger into College Football Hall of Fame," 11 June 2018 That’s one of the reasons why this is proving so intractable. Jen Kirby, Vox, "Why Brexit is tearing the United Kingdom apart," 27 Nov. 2018 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

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

19 Apr 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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