mul·​ish ˈmyü-lish How to pronounce mulish (audio)
: unreasonably and inflexibly obstinate
mulishly adverb
mulishness noun
Choose the Right Synonym for mulish

obstinate, dogged, stubborn, pertinacious, mulish mean fixed and unyielding in course or purpose.

obstinate implies usually an unreasonable persistence.

an obstinate proponent of conspiracy theories

dogged suggests an admirable often tenacious and unwavering persistence.

pursued the story with dogged perseverance

stubborn implies sturdiness in resisting change which may or may not be admirable.

a person too stubborn to admit error

pertinacious suggests an annoying or irksome persistence.

a pertinacious salesclerk refusing to take no for an answer

mulish implies a thoroughly unreasonable obstinacy.

a mulish determination to have his own way

Examples of mulish in a Sentence

She approached the job with mulish determination. a mulish insistence on doing things his own way
Recent Examples on the Web View Photos For those who have thus far been kept out of BMWs by an innate sense of fiscal responsibility (or a mulish loan officer), the biggest news here is the price: our 318is, as tested, cost a modest $21,985. William Jeanes, Car and Driver, 28 Apr. 2023 But his insistence—which is so adamant as to be mulish—that order is a good thing (even if enforced by a tyrant) if the alternative is anarchy (even in pursuit of a liberal democracy) will find few takers among those who aren’t admirers of Agamemnon or worshipers of Zeus. Tunku Varadarajan, WSJ, 13 Jan. 2023 Again, that is happening while the Biden administration makes U.S. energy production increasingly difficult, putting more upward pressure on prices in its mulish determination to appease the far Left. Andrew C. McCarthy, National Review, 7 Feb. 2022 His daughter, Anne (Olivia Colman), who comes to see him, is galled by the situation, but Anthony is mulish and unmoved. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, 26 Feb. 2021 They are increasingly irritated by the Democrats’ mulish persistence in an anti-Trump impeachment gambit at the expense of dealing with pressing national problems. Andrew C. McCarthy, National Review, 22 June 2019 And still fashion week keeps its mulish course, a carousel spinning madly. Matthew Schneier, New York Times, 21 Feb. 2018 Only a supranational institution such as the EU has the heft and mulish determination to override national attempts to impose banana uniformity, vacuum-cleaner-motor wattage limits or standards for automobile safety systems. Joseph C. Sternberg, WSJ, 17 Aug. 2017 Although the Democrat who defeated him, Sheldon Whitehouse, is not considered unfriendly to the environment, Chafee's ouster has to please Sen. James Inhofe, the mulish Republican chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. Wired News Report, WIRED, 8 Nov. 2006

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'mulish.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


mule entry 1

First Known Use

1751, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of mulish was in 1751

Dictionary Entries Near mulish

Cite this Entry

“Mulish.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


mul·​ish ˈmyü-lish How to pronounce mulish (audio)
mulishly adverb
mulishness noun

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