stubborn

adjective
stub·​born | \ ˈstə-bərn How to pronounce stubborn (audio) \

Definition of stubborn

1a(1) : unreasonably or perversely unyielding : mulish
(2) : justifiably unyielding : resolute
b : suggestive or typical of a strong stubborn nature a stubborn jaw
2 : performed or carried on in an unyielding, obstinate, or persistent manner stubborn effort
3 : difficult to handle, manage, or treat a stubborn cold
4 : lasting stubborn facts

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Other Words from stubborn

stubbornly adverb
stubbornness \ ˈstə-​bər(n)-​nəs How to pronounce stubbornness (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for 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 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.

Examples of stubborn in a Sentence

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 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 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 She's wrong, but she's too stubborn to admit it. I admire his stubborn refusal to quit. trying to treat a stubborn infection
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Recent Examples on the Web Chinese authorities have imposed a strict lockdown on nearly half a million people in a county near Beijing in the latest effort by the government to stamp out a small but stubborn second wave of infections in and around the capital. BostonGlobe.com, "Boris Johnson says COVID-19 has been a disaster for Britain," 29 June 2020 Ducks’ stubborn silence on release of testing information info is a fumble. oregonlive, "This year’s Pre Classic goes away, but there still could be live track this summer: Oregon track & field rundown," 26 June 2020 This should loosen up even the most stubborn of burns. Kate Bratskeir, CNN Underscored, "The best nonstick pans of 2020," 23 June 2020 Defiant and stubborn, and attracted to the dangerous splendor of the frontier, Krakauer himself risked his own life in pursuit of grand adventure in Alaska as a young man. Alex Horton, Anchorage Daily News, "‘Into the Wild’ author torn over removal of iconic bus: ‘I wrote the book that ruined it’," 20 June 2020 For stubborn whiteheads and under-the-skin spots, dermatologists recommend a nightly retinoid treatment. Jacqueline Kilikita, refinery29.com, "I’m Never Going Back To Heavy Makeup Post-Quarantine," 19 June 2020 Even though the statistics say LGBTQ seniors are the most likely to be lonely or isolated, many of these seniors are aging with the flair and stubborn joy that have sustained them all their lives. Rebecca Renner, National Geographic, "How to beat loneliness during a pandemic? LGBTQ elders lend their wisdom," 17 June 2020 Price’s resolution highlights stubborn and stark disparities between the county’s white, black and brown communities. Dallas News, "Racism is a public health crisis, Dallas County commissioners declare," 17 June 2020 Parts of the Mid-Atlantic, the Carolinas and the Ohio Valley will get wet weather and thunderstorms again Thursday as the stubborn storm system sticks around. Janice Dean, Fox News, "Severe weather threat for central Plains, Midwest as fire danger begins to ease in Southwest," 18 June 2020

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

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

History and Etymology for stubborn

Middle English stibourne, stuborn

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Time Traveler for stubborn

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for stubborn

Last Updated

4 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Stubborn.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/stubborn. Accessed 12 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for stubborn

stubborn

adjective
How to pronounce stubborn (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of stubborn

: refusing to change your ideas or to stop doing something
: difficult to deal with, remove, etc.

stubborn

adjective
stub·​born | \ ˈstə-bərn How to pronounce stubborn (audio) \

Kids Definition of stubborn

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

Other Words from stubborn

stubbornly adverb
stubbornness noun

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Comments on stubborn

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