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

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. 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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web The job market remains strong, and the government’s report on gross domestic product on Thursday highlighted the resilience in consumer spending, which rose in the first three months of the year. New York Times, 29 Apr. 2022 And a study from 2016 found that emotional regulation has been shown to improve health resilience in older age. Madeline Holcombe, CNN, 25 Apr. 2022 To end here, with Nadia high, grieving, and staring, hollow-eyed, into a mirror that once signified her stubborn survival, would be a callous conclusion to a character who has embodied resilience in the face of impossible challenges. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, 23 Apr. 2022 President Joe Biden will spend Earth Day in Seattle, speaking about a need to bolster the nation's resilience in the face of threats like wildfires, and a need to rapidly deploy clean energy, the White House said. Editors, USA TODAY, 22 Apr. 2022 Everyone should have a plan for what will happen in the event of a ransomware attack and include the notion of data resilience and redundancy in your systems. Kevin Lynch, Forbes, 12 Apr. 2022 America's employers extended a streak of robust hiring by adding 431,000 jobs in March, a sign of the economy's resilience in the face of a pandemic, Russia's war against Ukraine and the highest inflation in 40 years. Arkansas Online, 2 Apr. 2022 The researchers now want to know if social ties correlate with immune-system resilience in the macaques. Ingrid Wickelgren, Scientific American, 22 Mar. 2022 As Asian American Buddhist leaders grapple with the current wave of violence in the wake of the pandemic, many are turning to lessons from their history and religion to inspire resilience in their sanghas, or communities. Deborah Netburn, Los Angeles Times, 18 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of resilience

1807, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for resilience

see resilient

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The first known use of resilience was in 1807

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Last Updated

9 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Resilience.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for resilience


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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