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  1. firmly or stubbornly adhering to one's purpose, opinion, etc.; not yielding to argument, persuasion, or entreaty.
  2. characterized by inflexible persistence or an unyielding attitude; inflexibly persisted in or carried out: obstinate advocacy of high tariffs.
  3. not easily controlled or overcome: the obstinate growth of weeds.
  4. not yielding readily to treatment, as a disease.

Origin of obstinate

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin obstinātus (past participle of obstināre to set one's mind on, be determined), equivalent to ob- ob- + -stin-, combining form of stan- (derivative of stāre to stand) + -ātus -ate1
Related formsob·sti·nate·ly, adverbob·sti·nate·ness, nounsu·per·ob·sti·nate, adjectivesu·per·ob·sti·nate·ly, adverbsu·per·ob·sti·nate·ness, nounun·ob·sti·nate, adjectiveun·ob·sti·nate·ly, adverb

Synonyms for obstinate

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Antonyms for obstinate

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for obstinate


  1. adhering fixedly to a particular opinion, attitude, course of action, etc
  2. self-willed or headstrong
  3. difficult to subdue or alleviate; persistentan obstinate fever
Derived Formsobstinately, adverb

Word Origin for obstinate

C14: from Latin obstinātus, past participle of obstināre to persist in, from ob- (intensive) + stin-, variant of stare to stand
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 obstinate

mid-14c., from Latin obstinatus "resolute, resolved, determined, inflexible, stubborn," past participle of obstinare "persist, stand stubbornly, set one's mind on," from ob "by" (see ob-) + stinare, related to stare "stand," from PIE root *sta- "to stand" (see stet). Related: Obstinately.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

obstinate in Medicine


  1. Stubbornly adhering to an attitude, opinion, or course of action.
  2. Difficult to alleviate or cure.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.