- not easily controlled or directed; not docile or manageable; stubborn; obstinate: an intractable disposition.
- (of things) hard to shape or work with: an intractable metal.
- hard to treat, relieve, or cure: the intractable pain in his leg.
- an intractable person.
Origin of intractable
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
1. perverse, headstrong, dogged, obdurate, stony, willful, froward. 1, 2. fractious, refractory, unbending, inflexible, adamant, unyielding. See unruly.
1. amiable. 1, 2. amenable, flexible.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for intractable
Some express a feeling of hopelessness and that their intractable sadness will never abate.'Genie, You're Free': Suicide Is Not Liberation
August 12, 2014
Unfortunately, this new study shows how intractable that problem truly is.Anti-Vaxxers Will Fuel the Next Pandemic
May 7, 2014
The symptoms can show up as a wide array of intractable health problems.Pizza Might Be Your Enemy
March 9, 2014
On the left, many see it as a civil rights issue–potentially ameliorating the problem of intractable poverty.Best Business Longreads
November 17, 2013
We cannot step back and believe that a less confrontational posture will lead to peace with intractable adversaries.Goodbye, Blue: A Post-Obama Democratic Doctrine
Doug Schoen, Jessica Tarlov
November 15, 2013
I attempted to laugh off his predictions, but he was intractable.
Intractable as he ever was; he won't die, and he won't resign.Sir Brook Fossbrooke, Volume I.
Charles James Lever
"Well, it is humiliating enough," said the intractable Paganel.In Search of the Castaways
The father of the child says that at home he is violent, overbearing, and intractable.Spontaneous Activity in Education
Boab was not intractable, but he was sagacious; he had been fed on that sort of chaff too long.Acadia
Frederic S. Cozzens
- difficult to influence or directan intractable disposition
- (of a problem, illness, etc) difficult to solve, alleviate, or cure
- difficult to shape or mould, esp with the hands
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Word Origin and History for intractable
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- Difficult to manage or govern; stubborn.
- Difficult to alleviate, remedy, or cure.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.