View synonyms for intractable


[ in-trak-tuh-buhl ]


  1. not easily controlled or directed; not docile or manageable; stubborn; obstinate:

    an intractable disposition.

    Synonyms: unyielding, adamant, inflexible, unbending, refractory, fractious, froward, willful, stony, obdurate, dogged, headstrong, perverse

    Antonyms: flexible, amenable, amiable

  2. (of things) hard to shape or work with:

    an intractable metal.

    Synonyms: unyielding, adamant, inflexible, unbending, refractory, fractious

    Antonyms: flexible, amenable

  3. hard to treat, relieve, or cure:

    the intractable pain in his leg.


  1. an intractable person.


/ ɪnˈtræktəbəl /


  1. difficult to influence or direct

    an intractable disposition

  2. (of a problem, illness, etc) difficult to solve, alleviate, or cure
  3. difficult to shape or mould, esp with the hands

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Derived Forms

  • inˈtractably, adverb
  • inˌtractaˈbility, noun

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Other Words From

  • in·tracta·bili·ty in·tracta·ble·ness noun
  • in·tracta·bly adverb

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Word History and Origins

Origin of intractable1

From the Latin word intractābilis, dating back to 1535–45. See in- 3, tractable

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Synonym Study

See unruly.

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Example Sentences

What’s more, when I started asking fellow hikers if they’d suffered from intractable and unexplained pains, or the new sense that any exercise still hurt days later, a shocking percentage said yes.

Pioneering scientists like Rothermel dealt with this intractable problem by ignoring it.

The explosive growth of artificial intelligence has fostered hope that it will help us solve many of the world’s most intractable problems.

Maritza Perez, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance, said the partisan nature of the marijuana debate on Capitol Hill reflected the deeply divided nature of Congress rather than an intractable difference on policy.

Traits such as “superposition” and “entanglement,” when combined with “interference,” have the potential to solve problems in science and industry that are otherwise intractable, even to state-of-the-art supercomputers.

From Fortune

The real problem—a problem that thus far has proven intractable—is overcoming the doubt and fear.

Some express a feeling of hopelessness and that their intractable sadness will never abate.

Unfortunately, this new study shows how intractable that problem truly is.

The symptoms can show up as a wide array of intractable health problems.

On the left, many see it as a civil rights issue–potentially ameliorating the problem of intractable poverty.

But on the subject of the foreign troops Hartington in one House and his father in the other were intractable.

On the other hand they were likely to prove intractable and ungovernable, and many preferred even suicide to servitude.

A gallows was erected in the court, where the intractable underwent capital punishment as a warning to the rest.

Nevertheless it would surprise those acquainted only with fresh water ice to find how tough, sticky and intractable is sea-ice.

This fellow, Lopez, had absolutely been allowed to make a good score off his own intractable disobedience.


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