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

intransitive verb

: to exert force in opposition

transitive verb

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


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often attributive
: 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
The company had been resisting the Rich Communication Services (RCS) standard for more than a year, with Alphabet’s Google and others pushing for the iPhone maker to adopt the technology. Reuters, NBC News, 17 Nov. 2023 For a strength training workout that’s lightweight, portable, and doesn’t incur a monthly gym fee, don’t resist the pull of this resistance band set. Sarah Kester, Travel + Leisure, 16 Nov. 2023 This month, state media lauded a visit by former U.S. pilots who helped China resist the Japanese in the 1940s. Lily Kuo, Washington Post, 14 Nov. 2023 Doctors had resisted evacuating for days as Israeli forces advanced. Democrat-Gazette Staff From Wire Reports,, 12 Nov. 2023 For years, the city’s fitness enthusiasts have resisted any move by officials to scuttle their morning routine. Sameer Yasir, New York Times, 12 Nov. 2023 Fisher resisted for years through savvy back-room lobbying. Mark Zeigler, San Diego Union-Tribune, 10 Nov. 2023 Freud saw the superego as a guardian that pressured the ego to resist the id’s impulses in order to fit social norms. Emilie Le Beau Lucchesi, Discover Magazine, 9 Nov. 2023 One school of thought is that streamers, whose output some awards voters resisted even before the strike, will face a particularly uphill climb this season. Beatrice Verhoeven, The Hollywood Reporter, 9 Nov. 2023 See More

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

Word History



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

First Known Use


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


1836, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near resist

Cite this Entry

“Resist.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


: to fight against : oppose
resist temptation
: to withstand the force or effect of
material that resists water

More from Merriam-Webster on resist

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