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re·​sist ri-ˈzist How to pronounce resist (audio)
resisted; resisting; resists

intransitive verb

: to exert force in opposition

transitive verb

: to exert oneself so as to counteract or defeat
he resisted temptation
: to withstand the force or effect of
material that resists heat


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often attributive
: something (such as a coating) that protects against a chemical, electrical, or physical action
Choose the Right Synonym for resist

oppose, combat, resist, withstand mean to set oneself against someone or something.

oppose can apply to any conflict, from mere objection to bitter hostility or warfare.

opposed the plan

combat stresses the forceful or urgent countering of something.

combat disease

resist implies an overt recognition of a hostile or threatening force and a positive effort to counteract or repel it.

resisting temptation

withstand suggests a more passive resistance.

trying to withstand peer pressure

Example Sentences

Verb He was charged with resisting arrest. These windows can resist very high winds. The drug will help your body resist infection. She couldn't resist telling us what she'd heard. He was able to resist the urge to tell her his secret. It was hard resisting the temptation to open the box. The offer was hard to resist. I know I shouldn't have any more cake, but I can't resist. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Parfums de Marly's delicious fragrance is hard to resist. Sophie Dweck, Town & Country, 31 Jan. 2023 House Republicans will insist spending cuts be tied to any increase in the debt ceiling, while President Joe Biden and Senate Democrats will resist any negotiations. Charlie Dent, CNN, 23 Jan. 2023 Occasionally, Keshavarz lets the comedy get a little too broad — for example in the final scene, where practically everyone in the movie gets crowded into a hospital room at once — but even then the film’s infectious, fizzy energy is hard to resist. Leslie Felperin, The Hollywood Reporter, 22 Jan. 2023 For developers who had designed a coin and wanted a prominent platform for its first-ever sale, Mr. Bankman-Fried’s offer to have FTX be the launching pad was hard to resist. David Yaffe-bellany, New York Times, 18 Jan. 2023 There's also an endless list of optional luxuries, which are hard to resist, including more supportive sport seats, massaging front seats, heated and ventilated front and rear seats, and four-zone climate control. Drew Dorian, Car and Driver, 20 Dec. 2022 When there is insulin resistance, insulin is released from the pancreas gland as expected and in a timely fashion; however, it is prevented from doing its job because the cells resist its efforts. Bryant Stamford, The Courier-Journal, 8 Dec. 2022 Though most nations resist entertaining full diplomatic recognition for Taiwan, this isn’t currently an imperative. John Bolton, WSJ, 28 Nov. 2022 While standout pieces are hard to resist, there’s also something to be said about stocking up on classic wardrobe essentials from easy denim like this Frame pair or crisp button-up shirts from Khaite and The Row. Laura Jackson, Vogue, 28 Nov. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'resist.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History



Middle English, from Anglo-French or Latin; Anglo-French resister, from Latin resistere, from re- + sistere to take a stand; akin to Latin stare to stand — more at stand

First Known Use


15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


1836, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of resist was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near resist

Cite this Entry

“Resist.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


: to fight against : oppose
resist temptation
: to withstand the force or effect of
material that resists water

More from Merriam-Webster on resist

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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