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

Other Words from stubborn

stubbornly adverb
stubbornness \ ˈstə-​bər(n)-​nəs How to pronounce stubborn (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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web Many who crossed paths with Kennedy are reflecting on her enormous legacy, remembering her as sharp-witted, stubborn, and almost biblically devoted to accuracy. Li Goldstein, Bon Appétit, 26 July 2022 These dimples that often appear on your buttocks and legs are stubborn and can be tough to treat. Dori Price, Good Housekeeping, 25 July 2022 The central bank has sped up those rate moves as price increases have proved surprisingly stubborn, and the new inflation report spurred speculation that the Fed might turn even more aggressive. New York Times, 13 July 2022 Inflation is far more stubborn than the Federal Reserve and many economists had forecast a year ago. Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press, 15 June 2022 Now Carolina faces the challenge of putting away a team that has been resilient, even stubborn, when facing a series deficit. Aaron Beard, Hartford Courant, 27 May 2022 Starting Monday night, Connecticut is going to get whacked with a significant, stubborn storm that may cause flooding and power outages. Christine Dempsey, courant.com, 25 Oct. 2021 Shenseea describes her childhood personality as bossy, stubborn, and focused. Walaa Elsiddig, Billboard, 13 July 2022 But the report still found troubling pockets of pollution — some surprising and others stubborn — especially in the winter months. Rosanna Xiastaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 22 June 2022 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near stubborn

stubble spurge

stubborn

stubborn child

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Statistics for stubborn

Last Updated

10 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Stubborn.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/stubborn. Accessed 12 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for stubborn

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

More from Merriam-Webster on stubborn

Nglish: Translation of stubborn for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of stubborn for Arabic Speakers

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