resilience

noun
re·​sil·​ience | \ ri-ˈzil-yən(t)s How to pronounce resilience (audio) \

Definition of resilience

1 : the capability of a strained body to recover its size and shape after deformation caused especially by compressive stress
2 : an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change

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Using Resilience Outside of Physics

In physics, resilience is the ability of an elastic material (such as rubber or animal tissue) to absorb energy (such as from a blow) and release that energy as it springs back to its original shape. The recovery that occurs in this phenomenon can be viewed as analogous to a person's ability to bounce back after a jarring setback. Author P. G. Wodehouse took note of this when he wrote: "There is in certain men … a quality of resilience, a sturdy refusal to acknowledge defeat, which aids them as effectively in affairs of the heart as in encounters of a sterner and more practical kind." The word resilience derives from the present participle of the Latin verb resilire, meaning "to jump back" or "to recoil." The base of resilire is salire, a verb meaning "to leap" that also pops up in the etymologies of such sprightly words as sally and somersault.

Examples of resilience in a Sentence

… the concert remained a remarkable tribute to Dylan's resilience and continued relevance. — Susan Richardson, Rolling Stone, 15 Dec. 1994 He squeezed the rubber with a clamp and then released it—demonstrating with this painfully simple experiment that the material lost its resilience and therefore its ability to flex rapidly enough to protect the rocket joint from tumultuous hot gases. — James Gleick, New York Times Book Review, 13 Nov. 1988 With amazing resilience the two tribes pulled together and set out to found a new town farther up the river. — Carolyn Gilman, American Indian Art Magazine, Spring 1988 It is really wonderful how much resilience there is in human nature. Let any obstructing cause, no matter what, be removed in any way, even by death, and we fly back to first principles of hope and enjoyment. — Bram Stoker, Dracula, 1897 The rescue workers showed remarkable resilience in dealing with the difficult conditions. Cold temperatures caused the material to lose resilience.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The truest sign of 5G’s resilience may end up being its ability to survive a deafening level of hype. Dan Gallagher, WSJ, "5G Is Still a Tough Call," 7 May 2019 De Burgos is largely unknown outside of Puerto Rico; Crabapple weaves a story of the poet’s literary accomplishment and the origins of her feminist, nationalistic ideals, with that of Puerto Rico’s resilience in the wake of Hurricane Maria. Danielle Jackson, Longreads, "Listening to the Words of Puerto Rican Poet Julia de Burgos After Hurricane Maria," 1 May 2018 Others were highly impressed with Bey's resilience and determination to put in work after giving birth to her twins. Nicole Saunders, Harper's BAZAAR, "All Three of Beyoncé's Kids Made a Surprise Appearance in Her Netflix Documentary," 18 Apr. 2019 Landing just days after hundreds of local companies issued profit warnings and multinationals sounded the alarm about softening demand, the week-long Lunar New Year holiday will provide the next litmus test of the resilience of the Chinese shopper. Daniela Wei, The Seattle Times, "Lunar New Year will show trade war’s effects in China economy," 4 Feb. 2019 Yet another area where I’ve been impressed by the resilience and advocacy of young people is peacebuilding and conflict prevention. Miroslav Lajčák, Teen Vogue, "United Nations General Assembly President Miroslav Lajčák's Open Letter to Youth About Climate Change," 2 Aug. 2018 Surprising ecological consequences But the resilience of the cloud forest hasn't gone unchallenged. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Supposedly pristine South American forest had been pre-Columbian farmland," 17 July 2018 The new satellites are being engineered with greater resilience to enemy attacks through cyber hardening, smaller, less vulnerable form factors and jam-resistant GPS systems. Kris Osborn, Fox News, "New Air Force weapons strategy speeds missile warning, hypersonics and F-35 technology," 17 May 2018 His path was marked by a couple of muddled exits and resilience that culminated with President Trump last week offering him a seat on one of the... Nick Timiraos, WSJ, "Stephen Moore’s Unusual Route to the Fed as a Political Warrior," 28 Mar. 2019

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

1807, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for resilience

see resilient

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Statistics for resilience

Last Updated

17 May 2019

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Time Traveler for resilience

The first known use of resilience was in 1807

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More Definitions for resilience

resilience

noun

English Language Learners Definition of resilience

: the ability to become strong, healthy, or successful again after something bad happens
: the ability of something to return to its original shape after it has been pulled, stretched, pressed, bent, etc.

resilience

noun
re·​sil·​ience | \ ri-ˈzil-yən(t)s How to pronounce resilience (audio) \

Medical Definition of resilience

1 : the capability of a strained body to recover its size and shape after deformation caused especially by compressive stress
2 : an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change emotional resilience

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