[ ri-zis-tuhns ]
See synonyms for resistance on
  1. the act or power of resisting, opposing, or withstanding.

  2. the opposition offered by one thing, force, etc., to another.

  1. Electricity.

    • Also called ohmic resistance. a property of a conductor by virtue of which the passage of current is opposed, causing electric energy to be transformed into heat: equal to the voltage across the conductor divided by the current flowing in the conductor: usually measured in ohms. Abbreviation: R

    • a conductor or coil offering such opposition; resistor.

  2. Psychiatry. opposition to an attempt to bring repressed thoughts or feelings into consciousness.

  3. (often initial capital letter) an underground organization composed of groups of private individuals working as an opposition force in a conquered country to overthrow the occupying power, usually by acts of sabotage, guerrilla warfare, etc.: the resistance during the German occupation in World War II.

  4. Stock Exchange. resistance level.

Origin of resistance

First recorded in 1300–50; Middle English, from Middle French; equivalent to resist + -ance

Other words for resistance

Other words from resistance

  • in·ter·re·sist·ance, noun

Words Nearby resistance Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use resistance in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for resistance (1 of 2)


/ (rɪˈzɪstəns) /

  1. the act or an instance of resisting

  2. the capacity to withstand something, esp the body's natural capacity to withstand disease

    • the opposition to a flow of electric current through a circuit component, medium, or substance. It is the magnitude of the real part of the impedance and is measured in ohms: Symbol: R Compare reactance (def. 1)

    • (as modifier): resistance coupling; a resistance thermometer

  1. any force that tends to retard or oppose motion: air resistance; wind resistance

  2. (in psychoanalytical theory) the tendency of a person to prevent the translation of repressed thoughts and ideas from the unconscious to the conscious and esp to resist the analyst's attempt to bring this about

  3. physics the magnitude of the real part of the acoustic or mechanical impedance

  4. line of least resistance the easiest, but not necessarily the best or most honourable, course of action

British Dictionary definitions for Resistance (2 of 2)


/ (rɪˈzɪstəns) /

  1. the Resistance an illegal organization fighting for national liberty in a country under enemy occupation, esp in France during World War II

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

Scientific definitions for resistance


[ rĭ-zĭstəns ]

  1. A force, such as friction, that operates opposite the direction of motion of a body and tends to prevent or slow down the body's motion.

  2. A measure of the degree to which a substance impedes the flow of electric current induced by a voltage. Resistance is measured in ohms. Good conductors, such as copper, have low resistance. Good insulators, such as rubber, have high resistance. Resistance causes electrical energy to be dissipated as heat. See also Ohm's law.

  1. The capacity of an organism, tissue, or cell to withstand the effects of a harmful physical or environmental agent, such as a microorganism or pollutant.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for resistance


In electricity, a measurement of the difficulty encountered by a power source in forcing electric current (see also current) through an electrical circuit, and hence the amount of power dissipated in the circuit. Resistance is measured in ohms.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Other Idioms and Phrases with resistance


see least resistance.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.