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90s Slang You Should Know


[in-trak-tuh-buh l] /ɪnˈtræk tə bəl/
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
From the Latin word intractābilis, dating back to 1535-45. See in-3, tractable
Related forms
intractability, intractableness, noun
intractably, adverb
1. perverse, headstrong, dogged, obdurate, stony, willful, froward. 1, 2. fractious, refractory, unbending, inflexible, adamant, unyielding. See unruly.
1. amiable. 1, 2. amenable, flexible. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for intractable
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The Spanish agents speedily found that in the matter of Carranza he was incorruptible and intractable.

  • The father of the child says that at home he is violent, overbearing, and intractable.

  • No doubt the royal willingness to see restless and intractable subjects leave England had something to do with this liberality.

    The Spirit of America Henry Van Dyke
  • His temper is said to have been moody, impetuous, and intractable.

    Paul and Virginia Bernardin de Saint Pierre
  • Yet their efforts are rewarded by only meagre and stunted growths; so intractable is the material upon which they are expended.

British Dictionary definitions for intractable


difficult to influence or direct: an intractable disposition
(of a problem, illness, etc) difficult to solve, alleviate, or cure
difficult to shape or mould, esp with the hands
Derived Forms
intractability, intractableness, noun
intractably, adverb
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
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Word Origin and History for intractable

c.1500, "rough, stormy;" 1540s, "not manageable," from Latin intractabilis "not to be handled, unmanageable," from in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + tractabilis (see tractable). Related: Intractably.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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intractable in Medicine

intractable in·trac·ta·ble (ĭn-trāk'tə-bəl)

  1. Difficult to manage or govern; stubborn.

  2. Difficult to alleviate, remedy, or cure.

in·trac'ta·bil'i·ty n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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