re·​sist | \ ri-ˈzist How to pronounce resist (audio) \
resisted; resisting; resists

Definition of resist

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to exert force in opposition

transitive verb

1 : to exert oneself so as to counteract or defeat he resisted temptation
2 : to withstand the force or effect of material that resists heat


noun, often attributive

Definition of resist (Entry 2 of 2)

: something (such as a coating) that protects against a chemical, electrical, or physical action

Choose the Right Synonym for resist


oppose, combat, resist, withstand mean to set oneself against someone or something. oppose can apply to any conflict, from mere objection to bitter hostility or warfare. opposed the plan combat stresses the forceful or urgent countering of something. combat disease resist implies an overt recognition of a hostile or threatening force and a positive effort to counteract or repel it. resisting temptation withstand suggests a more passive resistance. trying to withstand peer pressure

Examples of resist in a Sentence

Verb He was charged with resisting arrest. These windows can resist very high winds. The drug will help your body resist infection. She couldn't resist telling us what she'd heard. He was able to resist the urge to tell her his secret. It was hard resisting the temptation to open the box. The offer was hard to resist. I know I shouldn't have any more cake, but I can't resist. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Move after meals To avoid a major post-meal blood sugar spike, resist the urge to lounge on the couch after dinner. Barbara Brody, Fortune, 13 May 2022 Jerky: No man can resist Gary West Meats' tender jerky. Erin Cavoto, Country Living, 12 May 2022 The point being impossible to miss — or resist, for that matter: Have celebrity specs, will travel. New York Times, 11 May 2022 Algerian rebels resist French government forces by any means necessary in this gripping 1966 docudrama directed by Gillo Pontecorvo. Los Angeles Times, 5 May 2022 Trump, too, found the role of chief assassin impossible to resist. Jackson Lears, The New York Review of Books, 6 Apr. 2022 Ukrainian parliament member Oleksandra Ustinova also met with U.S. senators last week to push for more sanctions immediately if Ukraine is to resist Russian attacks. Washington Post, 5 Mar. 2022 The gravitational pull of business fundamentals has been impossible to fully resist. Jennifer Maas, Variety, 1 Mar. 2022 The lure of an easy pass or sure basket is almost impossible to resist until Jackson has the ball in his hands and running the floor with teammates in tow. Evan Dudley, al, 4 Feb. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of resist


15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


1836, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for resist


Middle English, from Anglo-French or Latin; Anglo-French resister, from Latin resistere, from re- + sistere to take a stand; akin to Latin stare to stand — more at stand

Learn More About resist

Time Traveler for resist

Time Traveler

The first known use of resist was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near resist




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for resist

Last Updated

17 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Resist.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for resist


re·​sist | \ ri-ˈzist How to pronounce resist (audio) \
resisted; resisting

Kids Definition of resist

1 : to fight against : oppose Students resisted the war.
2 : to avoid doing or having something I can't resist bragging. Who can resist chocolate?
3 : to withstand the force or effect of These plants resist disease.

More from Merriam-Webster on resist

Nglish: Translation of resist for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of resist for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Eponyms: Words Named After People

True or False

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

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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