re·​sil·​ient ri-ˈzil-yənt How to pronounce resilient (audio)
: characterized or marked by resilience: such as
: capable of withstanding shock without permanent deformation or rupture
: tending to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change
resiliently adverb
Choose the Right Synonym for resilient

elastic, resilient, springy, flexible, supple mean able to endure strain without being permanently injured.

elastic implies the property of resisting deformation by stretching.

an elastic waistband

resilient implies the ability to recover shape quickly when the deforming force or pressure is removed.

a resilient innersole

springy stresses both the ease with which something yields to pressure and the quickness of its return to original shape.

the cake is done when the top is springy

flexible applies to something which may or may not be resilient or elastic but which can be bent or folded without breaking.

flexible plastic tubing

supple applies to something that can be readily bent, twisted, or folded without any sign of injury.

supple leather

Examples of resilient in a Sentence

The tallow tree, an ornamental species introduced by Benjamin Franklin in 1772, can quickly grow to 10 metres and is resilient to many pests. New Scientist, 19-25 Aug. 2006
In this affecting and eloquent account of the Dew family members' attempts to come to terms with the homosexuality of the elder son … Stephen emerges as a remarkably resilient and self-aware young man. Genevieve Stuttaford, Publishers Weekly, 18 Apr. 1994
Scientists are trying to figure out how the complex structure of such crystals and polymers and their interactions on the molecular level lead to resilient materials like sea shells, teeth and bones. JoAnn Shroyer, Quark, Critters and Chaos, 1993
Old roses are tough and resilient; they may be a little loose and blowzy … but the fact remains, these bushes want to live. Beverly Lowry, New York Times Book Review, 3 Dec. 1989
Hot-dipped nails have a resilient, thick zinc jacket that withstands more of the perils of a nail's life. Jim Locke, The Apple Corps Guide to the Well-Built House, 1988
The local economy is remarkably resilient. after being dipped in liquid nitrogen, the rubber ball's normally resilient surface is as brittle as ceramic See More
Recent Examples on the Web At the same time, this is an incredibly resilient run. Jj Kinahan, Forbes, 16 Feb. 2024 Dealing with the mental health impacts of the invasion will be absolutely vital to keep society resilient, functioning, and committed enough to repel the invaders. Peter Guest, WIRED, 16 Feb. 2024 The decentralization also made the axis more useful to Moscow by making the network more resilient—and therefore dangerous for Washington. Hamidreza Azizi, Foreign Affairs, 14 Feb. 2024 One of the main commitments made by leaders of the Southern African Development Community was to invest more in developing resilient water and sewer systems. Jeffrey Moyo, New York Times, 13 Feb. 2024 History teaches me that in bad, bad moments, there are those who are resilient and who can change the course of where things are headed, and that gives me hope. Liz Appel, Vogue, 13 Feb. 2024 Bonds have been on a jagged run recently as signals of a remarkably resilient economy force traders to push back forecasts for when the Federal Reserve may cut interest rates. Elaine Kurtenbach, Quartz, 8 Feb. 2024 People forced to move after a disaster are more likely to be those who can’t afford homes on higher land or infrastructure that is resilient to weather, says Huang. Olivia Ferrari, Smithsonian Magazine, 5 Feb. 2024 Despite across-the-board price declines, one category of watches has proven remarkably resilient. Victoria Gomelsky, Robb Report, 1 Feb. 2024 See More

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

Word History


Latin resilient-, resiliens, present participle of resilire to jump back, recoil, from re- + salire to leap — more at sally

First Known Use

1674, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of resilient was in 1674

Dictionary Entries Near resilient

Cite this Entry

“Resilient.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


re·​sil·​ient ri-ˈzil-yənt How to pronounce resilient (audio)
: characterized or marked by resilience
resiliently adverb

from Latin resilient-, resiliens, present participle of resilire "to jump back, rebound," from re- "back, again" and salire "to leap, spring" — related to assault, insult, somersault

Medical Definition


re·​sil·​ient -yənt How to pronounce resilient (audio)
: characterized or marked by resilience

More from Merriam-Webster on resilient

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