Try Our Apps


The Best Internet Slang


[ri-kal-si-truh nt] /rɪˈkæl sɪ trənt/
resisting authority or control; not obedient or compliant; refractory.
hard to deal with, manage, or operate.
a recalcitrant person.
Origin of recalcitrant
1835-45; < Latin recalcitrant- (stem of recalcitrāns, present participle of recalcitrāre to kick back), equivalent to re- re- + calcitr(āre) to strike with the heels, kick (derivative of calx heel) + -ant- -ant
Related forms
recalcitrance, recalcitrancy, noun
nonrecalcitrance, noun
nonrecalcitrancy, noun
nonrecalcitrant, adjective
unrecalcitrant, adjective
1. resistant, rebellious, opposed. See unruly. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for recalcitrance
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I have no doubt that this recalcitrance to the crime-novel is a culpa, if not a culpa maxima.

  • The day of the Upcott visit came, and, in spite of all recalcitrance, Roger was made to mount the motor beside his wife.

    Marriage la mode Mrs. Humphry Ward
  • I think Oswald justified it by means of his recalcitrance, kind of a reverse self-esteem.

    Warren Commission (11 of 26): Hearings Vol. XI (of 15) The President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy
  • His recalcitrance—she said—was a symptom of his whole attitude; he was taking it lying down.

  • The memorandum testifies to the strength of Bruce's hold on the country, and to the recalcitrance of Edward's barons.

    King Robert the Bruce A. F. Murison
British Dictionary definitions for recalcitrance


not susceptible to control or authority; refractory
a recalcitrant person
Derived Forms
recalcitrance, noun
Word Origin
C19: via French from Latin recalcitrāre, from re- + calcitrāre to kick, from calx heel
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for recalcitrance

1845, from French récalcitrance or from recalcitrant + -ance.



1823, from French récalcitrant, literally "kicking back" (17c.-18c.), past participle of recalcitrare "to kick back; be inaccessible," from re- "back" (see re-) + Latin calcitrare "to kick," from calx (genitive calcis) "heel." Used from 1797 as a French word in English.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for recalcitrant

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for recalcitrance

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for recalcitrance