as in rebellious
given to resisting authority or another's control refractory players will be ejected from the game

Synonyms & Similar Words


Antonyms & Near Antonyms


Synonym Chooser

How does the adjective refractory differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of refractory are headstrong, intractable, recalcitrant, ungovernable, unruly, and willful. While all these words mean "not submissive to government or control," refractory stresses resistance to attempts to manage or to mold.

special schools for refractory children

When can headstrong be used instead of refractory?

The words headstrong and refractory can be used in similar contexts, but headstrong suggests self-will impatient of restraint, advice, or suggestion.

a headstrong young cavalry officer

Where would intractable be a reasonable alternative to refractory?

While in some cases nearly identical to refractory, intractable suggests stubborn resistance to guidance or control.

intractable opponents of the hazardous-waste dump

When would recalcitrant be a good substitute for refractory?

Although the words recalcitrant and refractory have much in common, recalcitrant suggests determined resistance to or defiance of authority.

acts of sabotage by a recalcitrant populace

In what contexts can ungovernable take the place of refractory?

The meanings of ungovernable and refractory largely overlap; however, ungovernable implies either an escape from control or guidance or a state of being unsubdued and incapable of controlling oneself or being controlled by others.

ungovernable rage

When is unruly a more appropriate choice than refractory?

The synonyms unruly and refractory are sometimes interchangeable, but unruly implies lack of discipline or incapacity for discipline and often connotes waywardness or turbulence of behavior.

unruly children

When could willful be used to replace refractory?

The words willful and refractory are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, willful implies an obstinate determination to have one's own way.

a willful disregard for the rights of others


Thesaurus Entries Near refractory

Cite this Entry

“Refractory.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Sep. 2023.

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