adjective re·sil·ient \ ri-ˈzil-yənt \
|Updated on: 14 Jul 2018

Definition of resilient

: characterized or marked by resilience: such as
a : capable of withstanding shock without permanent deformation or rupture
b : tending to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change



Examples of resilient in a Sentence

  1. 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 Scientist19-25 Aug. 2006
  2. 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 StuttafordPublishers Weekly18 Apr. 1994
  3. 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 ShroyerQuark, Critters and Chaos1993
  4. Old roses are tough and resilient; they may be a little loose and blowzy … but the fact remains, these bushes want to live. —Beverly LowryNew York Times Book Review3 Dec. 1989
  5. Hot-dipped nails have a resilient, thick zinc jacket that withstands more of the perils of a nail's life. —Jim LockeThe Apple Corps Guide to the Well-Built House1988
  6. The local economy is remarkably resilient.

  7. after being dipped in liquid nitrogen, the rubber ball's normally resilient surface is as brittle as ceramic

Recent Examples of resilient from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'resilient.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of resilient

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

Synonym Discussion of 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

RESILIENT Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of resilient for English Language Learners

  • : able to become strong, healthy, or successful again after something bad happens

  • : able to return to an original shape after being pulled, stretched, pressed, bent, etc.

Medical Dictionary


adjective re·sil·ient \ -yənt \

medical Definition of resilient

: characterized or marked by resilience

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up resilient? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!


a simultaneous discharge of guns

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Test Your Emoji Exceptionalism

  • test-your-emoji-exceptionalism-written-with-a-lot-of-emoji
  • What is this emoji intended to represent: 🤳
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!