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 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
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Recent Examples on the Web During the past two years, the Floresville City Council has been nothing if not stubborn. Gilbert Garcia, San Antonio Express-News, "Garcia: Voter suppression flies under the radar in Floresville," 17 Mar. 2021 And Boston’s school district continues to wrestle with persistent and stubborn achievement gaps, a problem COVID-19 has further complicated. Danny Mcdonald, BostonGlobe.com, "What kind of Boston will the next mayor be inheriting?," 16 Feb. 2021 But crisis moments are still showing no real signs of shifting congressional dynamics, making for a stubborn and familiar refrain. Rick Klein, Averi Harper, ABC News, "Focus falls on executive actions amid cascading crises: The Note," 24 Mar. 2021 Geniuses need to be ambitious, stubborn and iron-willed, and Erivo plays that version of Franklin with a slow burn that does not waver. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: National Geographic’s Aretha Franklin miniseries misses its groove," 19 Mar. 2021 The state’s stand-alone power grid, the only one not integrated with those of neighboring states, has become another symbol of that culture of stubborn self-determination — and the dangers of such a pervasive mentality. Washington Post, "New Texas confronts the old with debates about mask mandates and winter storm response," 5 Mar. 2021 The stubborn and purely ideological consensus on the left that if producers are allowed to meet consumer demand without constraint something bad will happen, will not melt away. Roger Valdez, Forbes, "Will “Supply Deniers” Change Their Minds Because Of Covid-19?," 1 Mar. 2021 Next to the Dyson, the Buttercup gave the fastest finish time for our testers with fine, straight-to-wavy hair, 4b curls and thick, curly hair, and tamed even our most stubborn waves and curls without much effort. Drawbacks? Lesley Kennedy, CNN Underscored, "The best hair dryers of 2021," 20 Jan. 2021 New York City, which is trying to stamp out stubborn waves of Covid-19 in Queens and Brooklyn neighborhoods, issued $150,000 in fines and 100 summonses over the weekend, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday. Henry Goldman, Bloomberg.com, "NYC Issues $150,000 in Fines, 100 Summonses in Virus Hot Spots," 13 Oct. 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

12 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Stubborn.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/stubborn. Accessed 22 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for stubborn

stubborn

adjective

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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