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

Keep scrolling for more

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: Verb The path is marked by big breaks, family scars and scares, three golden retrievers, a dislike of coffee and the secret sauce that helped him become the voice of reason in a sport whose fans often resist rationalism. Brent Schrotenboer, USA TODAY, "'Hardest-working guy:' How Kirk Herbstreit became a college football star off the field," 31 Dec. 2020 While reading others’ steamy missives for inspiration can get your own creative juices flowing, resist the urge to copy the greats. Lizz Schumer, Good Housekeeping, "How to Write a Love Letter, According to Experts," 29 Dec. 2020 Wells details how the funding of the cotton trade fuelled a nascent Wall Street and admiringly portrays David Ruggles, a Black abolitionist who gave the Kidnapping Club its name and organized to resist it. The New Yorker, "Briefly Noted," 28 Dec. 2020 There’s more to it than that, of course, including how to actually resist the siren song of should. Anna Borges, SELF, "The 13 Best Mental Health Tips I’ve Learning While Reporting Through the Pandemic," 28 Dec. 2020 Is using physical restraints justifiable if people resist being quarantined? Jordan Kisner, The Atlantic, "What the Chaos in Hospitals Is Doing to Doctors," 22 Dec. 2020 Chris Edwards, director of tax policy at the Cato Institute, a think tank that supports limited government, also opposes its passage and liked seeing lawmakers resist it. Jay Heflin, Washington Examiner, "Relief bill hitting voters before election is unlikely, experts say," 10 Oct. 2020 Researchers conducted several experiments to show how close people hold onto traditions and resist even the most subtle of changes. Fox News, "COVID loss of holiday traditions is causing outrage, researchers say," 25 Dec. 2020 The book is long – nearly 1,000 pages – and Holmes can’t resist devoting extended passages to various interesting agitators who come in and out of Pankhurst’s life. Barbara Spindel, The Christian Science Monitor, "The uncompromising life and legacy of activist Sylvia Pankhurst," 23 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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 In addition to tarnishing a reputable Trump official, the Democratic resist-at-all-costs strategy chews up precious time on the Senate floor. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "The Senate Stakes in Sharp Relief," 26 July 2018 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

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about resist

Time Traveler for resist

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for resist

Last Updated

17 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Resist.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for resist


How to pronounce resist (audio)

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.

Keep scrolling for more

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Words of Snow and Ice Quiz

  • image1037863653
  • Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!