[ in-trak-tuh-buhl ]
/ ɪnˈtræk tə bəl /


not easily controlled or directed; not docile or manageable; stubborn; obstinate: an intractable disposition.
(of things) hard to shape or work with: an intractable metal.
hard to treat, relieve, or cure: the intractable pain in his leg.


an intractable person.

Origin of intractable

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

OTHER WORDS FROM intractable

in·trac·ta·bil·i·ty, in·trac·ta·ble·ness, nounin·trac·ta·bly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for intractably

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

    The Taliban on Richard Holbrooke|Christopher Dickey, Ron Moreau & Sami Yousafzai|December 14, 2010|DAILY BEAST
  • But something in him, some intractably tough bit of his old self, rose up protesting—frantically.

    A Christmas Garland|Max Beerbohm
  • "Then it appears to me that Sergeant Troy does not concern us here," she said, intractably.

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

British Dictionary definitions for intractably

/ (ɪnˈtræktəbəl) /


difficult to influence or directan intractable disposition
(of a problem, illness, etc) difficult to solve, alleviate, or cure
difficult to shape or mould, esp with the hands

Derived forms of intractable

intractability 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

Medical definitions for intractably

[ ĭn-trăktə-bəl ]


Difficult to manage or govern; stubborn.
Difficult to alleviate, remedy, or cure.

Other words from intractable

in•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.