resilience

noun
re·​sil·​ience | \ri-ˈzil-yən(t)s \

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

Video of the audience during the performance showed glistening eyes and smiles as the students belted out the lyrics about resilience and strength. Allyson Chiu, Washington Post, "Tony Awards: Parkland students’ emotional performance brings audience to its feet," 11 June 2018 Becoming a single mom when my son was 3 also taught me a lot about resilience and the power of ingenuity. Danielle Young, The Root, "Black Mamas Work: 6 Career-Driven Moms Share Their Messy Lessons, Wins and Fears of Raising Black Kids," 9 May 2018 Greitens received the grant in 2010 for research on resilience and how people handle hardship. Bryan Lowry, kansascity, "Greitens’ alleged misuse of grant money under investigation by university, foundation | The Kansas City Star," 4 May 2018 Among the first lessons Collins hopes to learn is about resilience: Why do some people stay healthy despite smoking or pollution or poor nutrition? NBC News, "Federal government wants 1 million people for giant health study," 1 May 2018 Turning things around won’t happen simply or automatically, but there are emerging signs of hope and resilience. Marc Freedman, WSJ, "Building Bridges Across the Generational Divide," 1 Nov. 2018 Annual console shipments are flat for 2017 [Updated] Sony, meanwhile, is seeing surprising resilience for the PS4 during its fifth full year on the market. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Before crucial holiday season, Nintendo struggles as Sony shines," 30 Oct. 2018 Your country has demonstrated its fortitude and resilience by rebuilding your communities following the devastating Cyclone Winston two years ago. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Prince Harry Recalls Queen Elizabeth's Visits to Fiji in His Speech at Tonight's State Dinner," 23 Oct. 2018 Over the years, as smartphone makers demand thinner glass to incorporate into sleeker phone designs, Corning has had to introduce more and more internal stress to keep up the resilience. Shannon Liao, The Verge, "Why your brand-new smartphone will scratch just as easily as your old one," 19 Oct. 2018

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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Last Updated

29 Nov 2018

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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 \

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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More from Merriam-Webster on resilience

Spanish Central: Translation of resilience

Nglish: Translation of resilience for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of resilience for Arabic Speakers

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