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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

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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

Example Sentences

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
With a rating of IPX7, these have an impressive ability to resist water. Brittany Vanderbill, Better Homes & Gardens, 20 Sep. 2022 Kerby is a conservative, but also firmly in support of the library trustees and their efforts to resist the would-be book banners. Nick Watt, CNN, 5 Sep. 2022 Equally at home as a fast dinner or as a picnic side, this eminently scoopable pasta salad makes use of kale's ability to resist wilting. Christopher Michel, Country Living, 24 Aug. 2022 First, if longevity is related to the ability to resist damage from oxygen radicals, as many scientists believe, Ming would have been well protected. Steven N. Austad, The Atlantic, 12 Aug. 2022 Features like metal screens on attic vents can also improve a house's ability to resist in a wildfire. Irina Ivanova, CBS News, 26 July 2022 The chemicals are known for their ability to resist grease and keep it from migrating into your lap during your on-the-go lunch in the car. Laura Schulte, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 31 May 2022 The British prime minister has tried to put his government at the forefront of international efforts to bolster Ukraine’s ability to resist Russia’s aggression, and has built a personal rapport with Zelenskyy. Democrat-gazette Staff From Wire Reports, Arkansas Online, 28 May 2022 Defense analysts have long questioned Taiwan’s ability to resist a Chinese attack. Josh Chin, WSJ, 23 May 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.

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 4 Oct. 2022.

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Kids Definition



re·​sist ri-ˈzist How to pronounce resist (audio)
resisted; resisting
: to fight against : oppose
Students resisted the war.
: to avoid doing or having something
I can't resist bragging.
Who can resist chocolate?
: to withstand the force or effect of
These plants resist disease.

More from Merriam-Webster on resist

Last Updated: 26 Sep 2022

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