[ ri-kal-si-truhnt ]
See synonyms for recalcitrant on
  1. resisting authority or control; not obedient or compliant; refractory.

  2. hard to deal with, manage, or operate.

  1. a recalcitrant person.

Origin of recalcitrant

First recorded in 1835–45; from Latin recalcitrant- (stem of recalcitrāns, present participle of recalcitrāre “to kick back”), equivalent to re- re- + calcitr(āre) “to strike with the heels, kick” (derivative of calx “heel”) + -ant--ant

synonym study For recalcitrant

1. See unruly.

Other words for recalcitrant

Other words from recalcitrant

  • re·cal·ci·trance, re·cal·ci·tran·cy, noun
  • non·re·cal·ci·trance, noun
  • non·re·cal·ci·tran·cy, noun
  • non·re·cal·ci·trant, adjective
  • un·re·cal·ci·trant, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use recalcitrant in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for recalcitrant


/ (rɪˈkælsɪtrənt) /

  1. not susceptible to control or authority; refractory

  1. a recalcitrant person

Origin of recalcitrant

C19: via French from Latin recalcitrāre, from re- + calcitrāre to kick, from calx heel

Derived forms of recalcitrant

  • recalcitrance, 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