re·​sis·​tance | \ ri-ˈzi-stən(t)s How to pronounce resistance (audio) \

Definition of resistance

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : an act or instance of resisting : opposition
b : a means of resisting
2 : the power or capacity to resist: such as
a : the inherent ability of an organism to resist harmful influences (such as disease, toxic agents, or infection)
b : the capacity of a species or strain of microorganism to survive exposure to a toxic agent (such as a drug) formerly effective against it
3 : an opposing or retarding force
4a : the opposition offered by a body or substance to the passage through it of a steady electric current
b : a source of resistance
5 : a psychological defense mechanism wherein a patient rejects, denies, or otherwise opposes the therapeutic efforts of a psychotherapist
6 often capitalized : an underground organization of a conquered or nearly conquered country engaging in sabotage and secret operations against occupation forces and collaborators



Definition of resistance (Entry 2 of 2)

: of, relating to, or being exercise involving pushing or pulling against a source of resistance (such as a weight) to increase strength resistance training

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Synonyms & Antonyms for resistance

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Noun

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Examples of resistance in a Sentence

Noun They have shown a stubborn resistance to change. The troops met heavy resistance as they approached the city. The paint shows good weather resistance. Over time the patient could develop a resistance to the drug.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Basically, mini resistance bands are an all-in-one gym that can be easily stowed in your closet or taken with you on the go. Rozalynn S. Frazier,, "The 21-Day Mini Resistance Band Challenge That Will Tone and Strengthen Your Entire Body," 10 July 2020 The roulette wheel that decides who lives and dies from the coronavirus is weighted by the type of blood coursing through the veins of victims, gifting some with innate resistance and dooming others to misery and torment. Peter Fimrite,, "If you have this blood type, studies show you’re at higher risk for the coronavirus," 9 July 2020 Any sort of decree ordering people not to use the app would likely be unconstitutional—and would be met with resistance from millions of Americans, especially young ones, for whom TikTok has become a form of cultural expression. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune, "Can Trump actually ban TikTok in the U.S.? It’s complicated," 9 July 2020 While unanimously approved by the city council, the measure was met with staunch resistance from local businesses, including Amazon and Starbucks. Fox News, "Socialist Seattle councilwoman to Jeff Bezos: 'We are coming for you and your rotten system'," 9 July 2020 Traveling to the Alamo City this week to complete in the Korn Ferry Tour’s TPC San Antonio Challenge at the Canyons, Greg Yates loaded his cleats, resistance bands and Xbox into his car. Greg Luca,, "With safety precautions in place, Korn Ferry Tour event marks return of pro sports to San Antonio," 8 July 2020 Algeria was considered the jewel in France’s colonial empire, and marked its independence day Sunday with a special funeral ceremony for 24 resistance fighters decapitated by French forces in the 19th century. Time, "French Anti-Racism Groups Denounce Paris Street Names and Statues Honoring Colonizers," 5 July 2020 During the Reagan administration, the U.S. helped resistance fighters known as the mujahideen, sending them anti-aircraft missiles and other assistance. Kim Hjelmgaard, USA TODAY, "Do 'bounties' on US troops in Afghanistan reflect a line crossed or 'nothing new' in long US-Russia history?," 4 July 2020 Do not share items that cannot be cleaned, sanitized, or disinfected between use, such as resistance bands and weightlifting belts. Leada Gore |, al, "Coronavirus safety: Tips for getting a haircut, eating out, going to a hotel, hosting a gathering," 15 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'resistance.' 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 resistance


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1976, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for resistance

Time Traveler

The first known use of resistance was in the 14th century

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Statistics for resistance

Last Updated

29 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Resistance.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for resistance


How to pronounce resistance (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of resistance

: refusal to accept something new or different
: effort made to stop or to fight against someone or something
: the ability to prevent something from having an effect


re·​sis·​tance | \ ri-ˈzi-stəns How to pronounce resistance (audio) \

Kids Definition of resistance

1 : an act or instance of opposing
2 : the ability to withstand the force or effect of resistance to disease
3 : an opposing or slowing force The car's sleek design reduces wind resistance.
4 : the opposition offered by a substance to the passage through it of an electric current


re·​sis·​tance | \ ri-ˈzis-tən(t)s How to pronounce resistance (audio) \

Medical Definition of resistance

1a : power or capacity to resist especially : the inherent ability of an organism to resist harmful influences (as disease, toxic agents, or infection)
b : the capacity of a species or strain of microorganism to survive exposure to a toxic agent (as a drug) formerly effective against it due to genetic mutation and selection for and accumulation of genes conferring protection from the agent especially as a result of overuse of the agent which selectively destroys individual microorganisms lacking the protective genes
2a : the opposition offered by a body to the passage through it of a steady electric current
b : opposition or impediment to the flow of a fluid (as blood or respiratory gases) through one or more passages — see vascular resistance
3 : a psychological defense mechanism wherein a psychoanalysis patient rejects, denies, or otherwise opposes therapeutic efforts by the analyst

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