adjective stub·born \ˈstə-bərn\

Definition of stubborn

  1. 1a (1) :  unreasonably or perversely unyielding :  mulish (2) :  justifiably unyielding :  resoluteb :  suggestive or typical of a strong stubborn nature a stubborn jaw

  2. 2 :  performed or carried on in an unyielding, obstinate, or persistent manner stubborn effort

  3. 3 :  difficult to handle, manage, or treat a stubborn cold

  4. 4 :  lasting stubborn facts




play \-bər(n)-nəs\ noun

Examples of stubborn in a sentence

  1. Louise was not the first to posit the idea of a miniature horse ancestral to the Arab; but she was the only one stubborn enough to prove it. —Jason Elliot, Mirrors of the Unseen, 2006

  2. To remove stubborn price tags from items like dishes and glassware, I use a cotton pad or Q-tip soaked with rubbing alcohol. The alcohol dissolves the sticky glue and doesn't mess up my manicure. —Kathe Palmucci, Real Simple, April 2003

  3. In the search for strategies to deal with the stubborn and deadly problem of driving under the influence, many cops are turning to an unusual tactic: Recruiting volunteer drinkers and drug users to teach officers to recognize impaired drivers. —Russell Gold, Wall Street Journal, 29 Oct. 2002

  4. She's wrong, but she's too stubborn to admit it.

  5. I admire his stubborn refusal to quit.

  6. trying to treat a stubborn infection

Recent Examples of stubborn from the web

These example sentences are collected from online sources. Help us improve them by sending feedback.

Stubborn as a Mule (or Some Other Animal)

Most of us are familiar with the expression stubborn as a mule, which some feel is unfair to this hybrid animal. In fairness to the mule, let us look at some of the other animals that the English language has seen fit to equate with stubbornness over the years. John Wolcot wrote of being “as stubborn as a halter’d ram.” In the 19th century satirical work The Family of the Seisers, a character is described as being “as stubborn as a dog-fish.” And a character in Maria Edgeworth’s play Love and Law describes her own hair as “stubborn as a Presbyterian.” These curious phrases are, however, exceptional: the mule is by far the most commonly referenced animal when describing stubbornness. We have been using as stubborn as a mule since at least 1771, when the expression appears in Tobias Smollett’s The Expedition of Humphry Clinker.

Origin and Etymology of stubborn

Middle English stibourne, stuborn

First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of stubborn

obstinate, dogged, stubborn, pertinacious, mulish mean fixed and unyielding in course or purpose. obstinate implies usually an unreasonable persistence an obstinate proponent of conspiracy theories. dogged suggests an admirable often tenacious and unwavering persistence pursued the story with dogged perseverance. stubborn implies sturdiness in resisting change which may or may not be admirable a person too stubborn to admit error. pertinacious suggests an annoying or irksome persistence a pertinacious salesclerk refusing to take no for an answer. mulish implies a thoroughly unreasonable obstinacy a mulish determination to have his own way.

STUBBORN Defined for English Language Learners


adjective stub·born \ˈstə-bərn\

Definition of stubborn for English Language Learners

  • : refusing to change your ideas or to stop doing something

  • : difficult to deal with, remove, etc.

STUBBORN Defined for Kids


adjective stub·born \ˈstə-bərn\

Definition of stubborn for Students

  1. 1 :  refusing to change an opinion or course of action in spite of difficulty or urging She's too stubborn to ask for help.

  2. 2 :  persistent a stubborn cough

  3. 3 :  difficult to handle, manage, or treat a stubborn stain





Seen and Heard

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a rounded knoll or a ridge of ice

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