re·​sist | \ri-ˈzist \
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

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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


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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

He was charged with trespassing after a warning, resisting with violence and aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer. Kathleen Joyce, Fox News, "Florida deputy hospitalized after homeless man allegedly releases pit bull on her," 10 July 2018 For Carol McKinny, a member of Indivisible Lake County — a group that resists the Trump administration agenda on a number of issues by incentivizing local volunteers — Pruitt’s departure is on some level a win for the nation. Yadira Sanchez Olson, Lake County News-Sun, "Lake County environmentalists still on guard after Pruitt leaves EPA: 'We have to move forward with the fight'," 6 July 2018 The rear and knees are reinforced with a high-density material that resists rocks and water wonderfully. Emily Reed, Outside Online, "The Best Leggings of 2018," 5 July 2018 He is expected to face charges of domestic assault and resisting and obstructing a police officer. Ann Zaniewski, Detroit Free Press, "Oakland County deputy suffers facial gash in tussle with suspect," 4 July 2018 Whales have streamlined bodies to help reduce drag (the force that resists a whale’s motion through the water) but there’s no way to eliminate it entirely. Brian Switek, Smithsonian, "Today’s Whales Are Huge, But Why Aren’t They Huger?," 27 June 2018 She was charged with misdemeanor counts of battery and resisting or obstructing an officer, and pleaded not guilty in April. Hilary Weaver, Vanities, "Heather Locklear Hospitalized After a Reported Overdose," 26 June 2018 In the meantime, Wingfield faces charges of criminal threatening, simple assault, criminal mischief, and resisting arrest, police said. Travis Andersen,, "Two brothers, a wild scuffle, and a gun — N.H. man, 58, booked for menacing sibling," 13 July 2018 Francisco Gonzalez, 22, was booked on charges of assault with a deadly weapon, brandishing, restraining order violation and resisting arrest, police Officer Linda Matthew said. Julia Sclafani, sacbee, "Man surrenders in SWAT standoff at Sacramento family home," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

David Erickson, 43, of Garden City, was booked into the Ada County Jail on two felony charges of battery against law enforcement, one misdemeanor count of resist and obstruction and a misdemeanor count of trespassing, according to a release. Michael Katz, idahostatesman, "Two local police officers injured after suspect becomes violent on Greenbelt | Idaho Statesman," 30 Mar. 2018 But the resist-Trump movement -- combined with more Hispanics moving into the region and the retirement of Royce and fellow GOP Rep. Darrell Issa in the nearby 49th district -- resulted in Democratic hopefuls piling into races. Joseph Weber, Fox News, "In wild California primary, Democratic candidate sues over rivals' ballot entries, candidates eased out," 28 Mar. 2018 Head to her three-hour workshop for a history lesson and a hands-on tutorial in shibori (an ancient Japanese method of resist dyeing not unlike tie-dye). Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, "West Elm Has Curated Workshops With its Favorite Local Artisans Across the U.S.," 13 Mar. 2018 With the support of UNHCR, RefuSHE also encourages economic empowerment by teaching the young women to make colorful scarves using resist-dyeing, a traditional East African technique similar to tie-dye. Alison S. Cohn, Harper's BAZAAR, "Runway of Hope: Angelina Jolie Opens Up About a Different Kind of Fashion Show," 8 Mar. 2018 The indigo resist-dye style fabric seen on said dress is easily reminiscent of the oceanic textiles in Areté Complete's own designs. Madeleine Luckel, Vogue, "From French Floral Prints to Blue Shibori, Bring New York Fashion Week Looks Into Your Home," 12 Feb. 2018 But many of the #resist leaders aren’t ready for a victory lap just yet. Philip Elliott / Los Angeles, Time, "Here's What It Was Like to Watch the State of the Union With the Resistance," 31 Jan. 2018 Despite scarce resources and a broken-down infrastructure, learning the craft of resist-dyeing (or tie-dyeing) has helped them work toward economic independence through making their own scarves. Emily Farra, Vogue, "Nest Gathers Industry Leaders at the United Nations to Discuss the New Handworker Economy and the Future of Ethical Fashion," 11 Dec. 2017 But most resist, because random strings are hard to remember. Jo Craven Mcginty, WSJ, "If ‘P@$$w0rd1’ Is So Simple to Figure Out, Then What Should You Do?," 18 Aug. 2017

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.

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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

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Learn More about resist

Statistics for resist

Last Updated

9 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for resist

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

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More Definitions for resist



English Language Learners Definition of resist

: to fight against (something) : to try to stop or prevent (something)

: to remain strong against the force or effect of (something) : to not be affected or harmed by (something)

: to prevent yourself from doing something that you want to do


re·​sist | \ri-ˈzist \
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.

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Comments on resist

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


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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