- hard or impossible to manage; stubbornly disobedient: a refractory child.
- resisting ordinary methods of treatment.
- difficult to fuse, reduce, or work, as an ore or metal.
- a material having the ability to retain its physical shape and chemical identity when subjected to high temperatures.
- refractories, bricks of various shapes used in lining furnaces.
Origin of refractory
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for refractory
Diagnosed with refractory acute myeloid leukemia at age 7, Sam was very brave but also very sick.36 Rabbis Shave for the Brave to Raise Money to Fight Childhood Cancer
John L. Smith
March 2, 2014
He bid me tell you so, when he went out, if I found you refractory.Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)
She tugs and pulls, and thumps the refractory thing on the floor.Lotus Buds
Together and with whisperings, they fidgeted with the refractory catch.Mary-'Gusta
Joseph C. Lincoln
Grace, who was struggling with a refractory window, paused for breath.Keziah Coffin
Joseph C. Lincoln
James was a refractory and disobedient child from the very cradle.An Old Sailor's Yarns
- unmanageable or obstinate
- med not responding to treatment
- (of a material) able to withstand high temperatures without fusion or decomposition
- a material, such as fireclay or alumina, that is able to withstand high temperatures: used to line furnaces, kilns, etc
Word Origin and History for refractory
"stubborn, obstinate, perverse," 1610s (earlier refractorious, 1550s, refractary, c.1600), from Latin refractarius "obstinate, stubborn," from past participle stem of refringere (see refraction). Related: Refractorily; refractoriness.
- Resistant to treatment, as a disease.
- Unresponsive to stimuli, as a muscle or nerve fiber.
- Having a high melting point. Ceramics that are made from clay and minerals are often refractory, as are metal oxides and carbides. Refractory materials are often used as liners in furnaces.
- Resistant to heat.
- Of or relating to a refractory period.