ob·​sti·​nate | \ ˈäb-stə-nət How to pronounce obstinate (audio) \

Essential Meaning of obstinate

1 : refusing to change your behavior or your ideas : stubborn his obstinate refusal to obey an obstinate little boy See More Examplesher obstinate behavior My parents remain as obstinate as ever.Hide
2 : difficult to deal with, remove, etc. : stubborn an obstinate stain a very obstinate problem

Full Definition of obstinate

1 : stubbornly adhering to an opinion, purpose, or course in spite of reason, arguments, or persuasion obstinate resistance to change
2 : not easily subdued, remedied, or removed obstinate fever

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Other Words from obstinate

obstinately adverb
obstinateness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for obstinate

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

Examples of obstinate in a Sentence

More than 30 cities had sued the gun industry for the costs of violence on their streets. Cuomo had brashly stepped into the legal swamp, hoping he could be the guy to force concessions from an obstinate industry. — Matt Bai, Newsweek, 5 Feb. 2001 With The New York Times calling Klein "a weak nominee" and editorializing that the administration should withdraw him, and with his opponents obstinate and apparently committed, he seemed for a moment to be in serious trouble. — John Heilemann, Wired, November 2000 What did they know of life? All they knew was how to parrot the stock phrases of their profession and to continue to be obstinate until somebody, somewhere, paid up. — Alexander McCall Smith, The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, 1998 When my father finished telling the story, he looked at me, then looked away. A moment of silence lodged between us, an old and obstinate silence. — Bernard Cooper, Harper's, August 1992 his obstinate refusal to obey My parents remain as obstinate as ever.
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Recent Examples on the Web Sadly, many Western politicians and intellectuals remain obstinate. Alexander William Salter, National Review, 22 July 2021 There was nothing stopping the NCAA from working toward a compromise and avoid running afoul of this Supreme Court case; its decision to fight now looks obstinate and misguided. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, 21 June 2021 Ed remains obstinate, but the other guys keep them from coming to blows. Kristen Baldwin, EW.com, 18 Nov. 2020 Many less attractive traits are also recorded: Charles could be uncommunicative and dilatory, evasive and mendacious, refractory, vindictive, obstinate, even outright wicked, though self-delusive about the motives of others. R.j.w. Evans, The New York Review of Books, 27 May 2020 Zelenskiy and Ukraine may be facing a similarly sensitive and obstinate government to the one the country confronted over the 2014 incident. Washington Post, 10 Jan. 2020 Since the first cases here were diagnosed nearly five weeks ago, an obstinate equanimity has prevailed. Arthur Longworth, The New York Review of Books, 12 Apr. 2020 And the obstinate idiosyncrasies of his music were at times judged even more harshly. Seth Colter Walls, New York Times, 8 Apr. 2020 Those obstinate automakers were right about one thing, though: The winning formula was definitely not an expensive economy car with pathetic range and a giant battery taking up much of the cargo space. Dave Vanderwerp, Car and Driver, 7 Feb. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'obstinate.' 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 obstinate

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for obstinate

Middle English, from Anglo-French obstinat, Latin obstinatus, past participle of obstinare to be resolved, from ob- in the way + -stinare (akin to stare to stand)

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The first known use of obstinate was in the 14th century

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Cite this Entry

“Obstinate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/obstinate. Accessed 20 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for obstinate


ob·​sti·​nate | \ ˈäb-stə-nət How to pronounce obstinate (audio) \

Kids Definition of obstinate

1 : sticking stubbornly to an opinion or purpose
2 : difficult to deal with or get rid of an obstinate fever

Other Words from obstinate

obstinately adverb


ob·​sti·​nate | \ ˈäb-stə-nət How to pronounce obstinate (audio) \

Medical Definition of obstinate

1 : adhering to an opinion, purpose, or course in spite of reason, arguments, or persuasion
2 : not easily subdued, remedied, or removed obstinate fever

More from Merriam-Webster on obstinate

Nglish: Translation of obstinate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of obstinate for Arabic Speakers


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