Intransigent and its stubborn younger sibling intransigence both were among our top lookups on January 10, 2019, after President Trump announced that he was cancelling his trip to the World Economic Forum in Davos, due to what he alleged was the embodiment of these two words by Democrats in Congress.
Intransigent is defined as “characterized by refusal to compromise or to abandon an often extreme position or attitude,” and intransigence as “the quality or state of being intransigent.”
Intransigent came into use in English in the late 19th century, borrowed from a Spanish word meaning “uncompromising” (intransigente). Many earliest citations for intransigent are instances in which the word is used as the title of a political faction in Spain. The word soon began being used as a synonym for “uncompromising,” and the noun form of intransigence followed shortly after.
The secret sitting of the Cortes lasted until four o’clock this afternoon. The debate was very stormy. The Intransigent faction (extreme Radicals), numbered about forty deputies, insisted upon the separate election of each individual Minister.
— The Manchester Guardian (Manchester, Eng.), 10 Jun. 1873
Pavia then resigned his post in disgust, believing that the Marshal had destroyed himself by indulging in the fatal intransigence which the dispersion of the Cortes had been intended to cure.
— The Pall Mall Gazette (London, Eng.), 31 Mar. 1876
Trend Watch is a data-driven report on words people are looking up at much higher search rates than normal. While most trends can be traced back to the news or popular culture, our focus is on the lookup data rather than the events themselves.