of or like a mule, as being very stubborn, obstinate, or intractable.

Origin of mulish

First recorded in 1745–55; mule1 + -ish1
Related formsmul·ish·ly, adverbmul·ish·ness, nounun·mul·ish, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for mulish

Historical Examples of mulish

  • I was just mulish, I guess, because you were trying to stampede me.

    The Innocent Adventuress

    Mary Hastings Bradley

  • He had a will of his own; and he was obstinate, mulish, pig-headed.

    Breaking Away

    Oliver Optic

  • He was backing his judgment—or was it only his mulish obstinacy?

  • They were actually the most obstinate, headstrong, mulish people that you could ever imagine.

    Wounds in the rain

    Stephen Crane

  • The mulish look comes into her face—the look he has begun to know so well.

    Red as a Rose is She

    Rhoda Broughton

British Dictionary definitions for mulish



stubborn; obstinate; headstrong
Derived Formsmulishly, adverbmulishness, noun
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 mulish

1751, from mule (n.1) + -ish. Related: Mulishly; mulishness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper