1 : obstinately defiant of authority or restraint
2 a : difficult to manage or operate
b : not responsive to treatment
c : resistant
Did You Know?
Long before any human was dubbed "recalcitrant" in English (that first occurred in the 18th century), there were stubborn mules (and horses) kicking back their heels. The ancient Romans noted as much (Pliny the Elder among them), and they had a word for it: recalcitrare, which literally means "to kick back." (Its root calc-, meaning "heel," is also the root of calcaneus, the large bone of the heel in humans.) Certainly Roman citizens in Pliny's time were sometimes willful and hardheaded—as attested by various Latin words meaning "stubborn"—but it wasn't until later that writers of Late Latin applied recalcitrare and its derivative adjective to humans who were stubborn as mules.
The magazine, aimed at parents and caregivers of young children, will include the latest in child development science as well as practical information, like tricks for persuading even the most recalcitrant toddler to cooperate.
"But the reforms are stalled, held back by recalcitrant bureaucrats loathe to give up their authority and perks…." — William M. LeoGrande, Newsweek, 11 May 2018
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Name That Synonym
Fill in the blanks to complete a synonym of recalcitrant: c _ n _ u _ a _ i _ u _.VIEW THE ANSWER
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