1
as in ruthless
having or showing a lack of sympathy or tender feelings the obdurate refusal of the crotchety old man to let the neighborhood kids retrieve their stray ball from his backyard

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2
as in stubborn
sticking to an opinion, purpose, or course of action in spite of reason, arguments, or persuasion an obdurate farmer who could never be convinced to try a different method of fertilization

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How is the word obdurate different from other adjectives like it?

The words adamant and inflexible are common synonyms of obdurate. While all three words mean "unwilling to alter a predetermined course or purpose," obdurate stresses hardness of heart and insensitivity to appeals for mercy or the influence of divine grace.

obdurate in his refusal to grant clemency

When can adamant be used instead of obdurate?

The words adamant and obdurate can be used in similar contexts, but adamant implies utter immovability in the face of all temptation or entreaty.

adamant that the work should continue

Where would inflexible be a reasonable alternative to obdurate?

While the synonyms inflexible and obdurate are close in meaning, inflexible implies rigid adherence or even slavish conformity to principle.

inflexible in their demands

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Cite this Entry

“Obdurate.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/obdurate. Accessed 30 Nov. 2022.

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