Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[ri-zis-tuh ns] /rɪˈzɪs təns/
the act or power of resisting, opposing, or withstanding.
the opposition offered by one thing, force, etc., to another.
  1. Also called ohmic resistance. a property of a conductor by virtue of which the passage of current is opposed, causing electric energy to be transformed into heat: equal to the voltage across the conductor divided by the current flowing in the conductor: usually measured in ohms.
    Abbreviation: R.
  2. a conductor or coil offering such opposition; resistor.
Psychiatry. opposition to an attempt to bring repressed thoughts or feelings into consciousness.
(often initial capital letter) an underground organization composed of groups of private individuals working as an opposition force in a conquered country to overthrow the occupying power, usually by acts of sabotage, guerrilla warfare, etc.:
the resistance during the German occupation in World War II.
Stock Exchange. resistance level.
Origin of resistance
1300-50; Middle English < Middle French. See resist, -ance
Related forms
interresistance, noun
1. opposition, obstinacy, defiance, intransigence. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for resistance
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The rested muscles of his body and mind craved the resistance of obstacles.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • The death of the Genoese leader did indeed bring the resistance to an end.

    The White Company Arthur Conan Doyle
  • He put his whole will into the assertion of guilt, to batter down the man's resistance.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • This may have increased the resistance, but it adds to the steadiness.

    Flying Machines W.J. Jackman and Thos. H. Russell
  • The pirates had come aboard of them at night and no resistance had been offered.

British Dictionary definitions for resistance


the act or an instance of resisting
the capacity to withstand something, esp the body's natural capacity to withstand disease
  1. the opposition to a flow of electric current through a circuit component, medium, or substance. It is the magnitude of the real part of the impedance and is measured in ohms R Compare reactance (sense 1)
  2. (as modifier): resistance coupling, a resistance thermometer
any force that tends to retard or oppose motion: air resistance, wind resistance
(in psychoanalytical theory) the tendency of a person to prevent the translation of repressed thoughts and ideas from the unconscious to the conscious and esp to resist the analyst's attempt to bring this about
(physics) the magnitude of the real part of the acoustic or mechanical impedance
line of least resistance, the easiest, but not necessarily the best or most honourable, course of action


the Resistance, an illegal organization fighting for national liberty in a country under enemy occupation, esp in France during World War II
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 resistance

mid-14c., from Old French resistance, earlier resistence, from Late Latin resistentia, from present participle stem of Latin resistere "make a stand against, oppose" (see resist). Meaning "organized covert opposition to an occupying or ruling power" [OED] is from 1939. Electromagnetic sense is from 1860. Path of least resistance is from 1825, originally a term in science and engineering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
resistance in Medicine

resistance re·sis·tance (rĭ-zĭs'təns)

  1. The capacity of an organism to defend itself against a disease.

  2. The capacity of an organism, a tissue, or a cell to withstand the effects of a harmful physical or environmental agent.

  3. The opposition of a body or substance to current passing through it, resulting in a change of electrical energy into heat or another form of energy.

  4. In psychoanalysis, a process in which the ego opposes the conscious recall of repressed unpleasant experiences.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source
resistance in Science
  1. A force, such as friction, that operates opposite the direction of motion of a body and tends to prevent or slow down the body's motion.

  2. A measure of the degree to which a substance impedes the flow of electric current induced by a voltage. Resistance is measured in ohms. Good conductors, such as copper, have low resistance. Good insulators, such as rubber, have high resistance. Resistance causes electrical energy to be dissipated as heat. See also Ohm's law.

  3. The capacity of an organism, tissue, or cell to withstand the effects of a harmful physical or environmental agent, such as a microorganism or pollutant.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
resistance in Culture

resistance definition

In electricity, a measurement of the difficulty encountered by a power source in forcing electric current through an electrical circuit, and hence the amount of power dissipated in the circuit. Resistance is measured in ohms.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
Idioms and Phrases with resistance


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for resistance

Difficulty index for resistance

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for resistance

Scrabble Words With Friends