not flexible; incapable of or resistant to being bent; rigid: an inflexible steel rod.
of a rigid or unyielding temper, purpose, will, etc.; immovable: an inflexible determination.
not permitting change or variation; unalterable: inflexible rules.

Origin of inflexible

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin inflexibilis rigid, unbending. See in-3, flexible
Related formsin·flex·i·bil·i·ty, in·flex·i·ble·ness, nounin·flex·i·bly, adverb

Synonyms for inflexible

1. unbendable, stiff. 2. rigorous, stern, unrelenting, unremitting, stubborn, obstinate, intractable, obdurate, unbending, adamant. Inflexible, relentless, implacable, inexorable imply having the quality of not being turned from a purpose. Inflexible means unbending, adhering undeviatingly to a set plan, purpose, or the like: inflexible in interpretation of rules; an inflexible will. Relentless suggests so pitiless and unremitting a pursuit of purpose as to convey a sense of inevitableness: as relentless as the passing of time. Implacable means incapable of being placated or appeased: implacable in wrath. Inexorable means unmoved by prayer or entreaty: inexorable in demanding payment. 3. undeviating.

Antonyms for inflexible Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for inflexibility

Contemporary Examples of inflexibility

Historical Examples of inflexibility

  • She endeavours to account for the inflexibility of her parents and uncles.

    Clarissa, Volume 2 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • Have you not had experience enough of the inflexibility of pride and courage?


    Edward Bulwer Lytton

  • What was to be the union which that inflexibility carried was not foreseen.

    James Madison

    Sydney Howard Gay

  • It clung to her closely, and added to the inflexibility of her general appearance.

    Framley Parsonage

    Anthony Trollope

  • Their works did not exact the same constancy and inflexibility of effort.

    Sir Walter Ralegh

    William Stebbing

British Dictionary definitions for inflexibility



not flexible; rigid; stiff
obstinate; unyielding
without variation; unalterable; fixed
Derived Formsinflexibility or inflexibleness, nouninflexibly, adverb

Word Origin for inflexible

C14: from Latin inflexībilis; see inflect
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 inflexibility

1610s, from inflexible + -ity.



late 14c., "incapable of being bent, physically rigid," also figuratively, "unbending in temper or purpose," from Middle French inflexible and directly from Latin inflexibilis, from inflexus, past participle of inflectere (see inflect). In early 15c. an identical word had an opposite sense, "capable of being swayed or moved," from in- "in, on." Related: Inflexibly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper