See more synonyms for intractable on
  1. not easily controlled or directed; not docile or manageable; stubborn; obstinate: an intractable disposition.
  2. (of things) hard to shape or work with: an intractable metal.
  3. hard to treat, relieve, or cure: the intractable pain in his leg.
  1. an intractable person.

Origin of intractable

From the Latin word intractābilis, dating back to 1535–45. See in-3, tractable
Related formsin·trac·ta·bil·i·ty, in·trac·ta·ble·ness, nounin·trac·ta·bly, adverb

Synonyms for intractable

See more synonyms for on

Antonyms for intractable Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for intractably

Contemporary Examples of intractably

  • The United States and NATO were implicated more deeply, directly and intractably in Afghanistan than they had ever been in Bosnia.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Taliban on Richard Holbrooke

    Christopher Dickey, Ron Moreau & Sami Yousafzai

    December 14, 2010

Historical Examples of intractably

  • "O no," she said, intractably moving to the other side of the decayed fire.

  • "Then it appears to me that Sergeant Troy does not concern us here," she said, intractably.

  • But something in him, some intractably tough bit of his old self, rose up protesting—frantically.

British Dictionary definitions for intractably


  1. difficult to influence or directan intractable disposition
  2. (of a problem, illness, etc) difficult to solve, alleviate, or cure
  3. difficult to shape or mould, esp with the hands
Derived Formsintractability or intractableness, nounintractably, adverb
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 intractably



c.1500, "rough, stormy;" 1540s, "not manageable," from Latin intractabilis "not to be handled, unmanageable," from in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + tractabilis (see tractable). Related: Intractably.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

intractably in Medicine


  1. Difficult to manage or govern; stubborn.
  2. Difficult to alleviate, remedy, or cure.
Related formsin•trac′ta•bili•ty n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.