ob·​du·​rate | \ ˈäb-də-rət How to pronounce obdurate (audio) , -dyə-; äb-ˈdu̇r-ət, əb-, -ˈdyu̇r- \

Definition of obdurate

1a : stubbornly persistent in wrongdoing an unrepentant, obdurate sinner
b : hardened in feelings The obdurate enemy was merciless.
2 : resistant to persuasion or softening influences obdurate in his determination remaining obdurate to her husband's advances— Edith Wharton

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Other Words from obdurate

obdurately adverb
obdurateness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for obdurate

inflexible, obdurate, adamant mean unwilling to alter a predetermined course or purpose. inflexible implies rigid adherence or even slavish conformity to principle. inflexible in their demands obdurate stresses hardness of heart and insensitivity to appeals for mercy or the influence of divine grace. obdurate in his refusal to grant clemency adamant implies utter immovability in the face of all temptation or entreaty. adamant that the work should continue

Did You Know?

When you are confronted with someone obdurate, you may end up feeling dour. During the encounter, you may find that you need to be durable to keep your sanity intact. Maybe you will find such situations less stressful in the future if you can face them knowing that the words obdurate, dour,during, and durable are etymological cousins. All of those words trace back to the Latin adjective durus, which means "hard." A form of this adjective can still be found in dura mater, the name for the tough fibrous material that surrounds the brain and spinal cord; it comes from a Medieval Latin phrase meaning, literally, "hard mother."

Examples of obdurate in a Sentence

He is known for his obdurate determination. the obdurate refusal of the crotchety old man to let the neighborhood kids retrieve their stray ball from his backyard
Recent Examples on the Web Were other international trade negotiations to be put back because of the virus — for example those being conducted between London and Washington — Britain’s government could start to look obdurate about the Brexit talks. Mark Landler, New York Times, "Boris Johnson Pressed to Move Brexit Deadline Amid Coronavirus Threat," 14 Mar. 2020 But there is a special satisfaction in what appears to be Giuliani’s obdurate inability to refrain from this type of behavior. Naomi Fry, The New Yorker, "The Year in Stupidity," 13 Dec. 2019 Now the territory’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, obdurate for weeks in the face of the protesters’ demands, has changed her tune. The Economist, "Hong Kong’s leader has made a concession to protesters," 5 Sep. 2019 By 1969 frustration had reached a critical level as the crackdown by police and the Army intensified, and hopes for change were thwarted by an obdurate establishment. Peter Keough, BostonGlobe.com, "Documentary tales of two ’60s," 27 June 2019 Her resistance to a unifying style of painting, her enduring reputation not as an artist but as the wife of Jackson Pollock, and the obdurate sexism of the art establishment, have all contributed to her work being sidelined. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "The Irrepressible Emotion of Lee Krasner," 13 June 2019 But Sweden’s success in Russia has largely come down to its obdurate defense, which kept clean sheets in victories over South Korea and Mexico. Steve Douglas, The Seattle Times, "Sweden inspired by heavyweights’ fall at the World Cup," 2 July 2018 On Friday, the Huskies will face Notre Dame (33-3), a familiar and obdurate opponent. Jeré Longman, New York Times, "At UConn, No Losses and No Apologies," 29 Mar. 2018 Naing Ko Ko, a political analyst who consults with the NLD, said Ms. Suu Kyi’s closed leadership style reflects the NLD’s challenge of facing off against an obdurate military that maintains control of key levers of power. Jon Emont, WSJ, "My Generation: Suu Kyi Faces Succession Problem in Myanmar," 28 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'obdurate.' 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 obdurate

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for obdurate

Middle English, borrowed from Late Latin obdūrātus, going back to Latin, past participle of obdūrāre "to harden, be persistent, hold out," from ob-, perfective prefix + dūrāre "to harden, hold out, endure" — more at ob-, during

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The first known use of obdurate was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

25 Apr 2020

Cite this Entry

“Obdurate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/obdurate. Accessed 24 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for obdurate


How to pronounce obdurate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of obdurate

formal : refusing to do what other people want : not willing to change your opinion or the way you do something

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More from Merriam-Webster on obdurate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for obdurate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with obdurate

Spanish Central: Translation of obdurate

Nglish: Translation of obdurate for Spanish Speakers

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