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

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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

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Few who survive a long hostage ordeal can resist writing a book about it. Graeme Wood, The Atlantic, "The Awful Wisdom of the Hostage," 5 Apr. 2021 Even shows made for preschoolers, like Netflix’s City of Ghosts, can’t resist it! Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone, "Let’s Not Do the Time Warp Again," 26 Mar. 2021 Normally, rates may temporarily spike but customers equipped with the technology to automatically cut their usage can resist. Ken Silverstein, Forbes, "Deregulation Is Not The Central Culprit For Texas’ Electricity Crisis," 1 Mar. 2021 For sustenance, the creatures can’t resist dog meat, which is what the book’s heroines Maryse, Sadie and Chef bait their monster-traps with. Tom Shippey, WSJ, "Science Fiction: ‘Into the Light’ Review," 26 Feb. 2021 Even some of Spielberg’s darker sci-fi, like A.I., Minority Report and War of the Worlds, can’t resist the temptation to wrap on a note of uplift. Alison Willmore, Vulture, "The 101 Greatest Endings in Movies History," 22 Feb. 2021 The young and young-at-heart can't resist a theme park vacation. Elizabeth Rhodes, Travel + Leisure, "7 Family Vacations Everyone Should Do at Least Once," 18 Feb. 2021 Across genres, her style is mutable, her word choice precise, her interest piqued by tales of transformation and how people do and don’t resist it. New York Times, "Working in TV, Jen Silverman Wrote a Novel. About Theater.," 10 Feb. 2021 Without oversight, some people cannot resist larceny urges. Oline H. Cogdill,, "Book review: A librarian as P.I. from an author to watch," 28 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun It also is built to hold a heavy amount of weight, as the commercial-grade steel makes the durable frame resist damage. Chris Hachey, BGR, "Best Weight Storage Rack," 8 Apr. 2021 It also is built to hold a heavy amount of weight, as the commercial-grade steel makes the durable frame resist damage. Chris Hachey, BGR, "Best Weight Storage Rack," 16 Mar. 2021 Some of the earliest wax-resist textiles can be traced back more than 1,500 years to Ancient Egypt, Sui and Tang Dynasty China, Nero Period Japan, and the Yoruba people in Nigeria and Senegal, among other cultures. Stefanie Waldek, House Beautiful, "What Is Batik?," 7 Oct. 2020 Like batik—and even classic American tie dye—ikat is a resist-dyeing technique: Yarns are bundled and bound with string then dyed to create patterns. Stefanie Waldek, House Beautiful, "All About Ikat, the Gorgeous Indonesian Dyeing Technique," 2 Nov. 2020 Shibori actually encompasses quite a number of different resist-dyeing techniques. Stefanie Waldek, House Beautiful, "What Is Shibori?," 8 Oct. 2020 Tie-dye is a type of resist-dyeing, which involves twisting, folding, and binding fabric to create patterns of dyed and undyed areas. Jessica Bennett, Better Homes & Gardens, "6 Tie-Dye Home Decor Finds that Let You Try the Trend Without Making a Mess," 20 Aug. 2020 In song after song, the singer and her agile rhythm section and backing vocalists demonstrated how #resist was in the Staples family vocabulary long before anyone knew what a hashtag was. Jessi Roti,, "Pitchfork Music Fest 2019: 14 things we loved from a sweaty day 1," 19 July 2019 For more info: ART: Japanese tie dyeing The art of applying resist-dyeing techniques to fabrics, also known as tie dying, has been practiced in Japan for hundreds of years. CBS News, "This week on "Sunday Morning" (August 4)," 1 Aug. 2019

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

Time Traveler for resist

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for resist

Last Updated

11 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Resist.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Apr. 2021.

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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 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.

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