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 The measures come as officials around the country and the world are taking more aggressive actions against what has proved to be a stubborn and deadly virus. Ben Guarino, Washington Post, "Schools close, National Guard deployed to help New York suburb stem spread of coronavirus," 11 Mar. 2020 Eli and Alexis are sweet, stubborn, and want to become doctors. Ariana Romero, refinery29.com, "Grey’s Anatomy Left The Door Open For Karev To Come Back," 6 Mar. 2020 The plan emerged from a fact-finding effort by DeWine’s administration, which identified a number of causes in September for the problem being so stubborn, particularly in Appalachia. USA TODAY, "Lego impeachment, emotional support coyote, mumbo sauce: News from around our 50 states," 21 Dec. 2019 Lokomotiv were relatively comfortable for a significant proportion of the action in Turin but were punished late on as tiring legs allowed Paulo Dybala two strike twice in two minutes to break the Russian's stubborn and very bold resistance. SI.com, "Juventus 2-1 Lokomotiv Moscow: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Late Dybala Double Rescues Hosts," 22 Oct. 2019 It had been delayed for at least seven hours in the Mobile Bay awaiting a stubborn fog to lift. al, "Coronavirus concerns about cruising? Not in Mobile," 13 Mar. 2020 Sticky ice packs for stubborn aches and pains Got a bruise or a sore spot? Sara Hendricks, USA TODAY, "11 clever ways to spend your FSA money before you lose it," 11 Mar. 2020 But as the virus spread, Zuoling emerged as a stubborn hot spot of infections in Wuhan, and a somber lesson in how the state’s vast effort to contain the virus left some communities acutely vulnerable. New York Times, "In China’s War on the Coronavirus, a Community Is Besieged," 10 Mar. 2020 For the third year in a row Elyria Catholic reached the regional final, and Saturday afternoon the Panthers once again punched their ticket to Columbus, pulling away from stubborn Canfield South Range in the second half to take a 51-37 victory. Joe Magill, cleveland, "Elyria Catholic girls basketball shakes off slow start, advances to Columbus with 51-37 Division III regional win over South Range," 7 Mar. 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

30 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Stubborn.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/stubborn. Accessed 31 Mar. 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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