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Origin of stubborn
SYNONYMS FOR stubborn
synonym study for stubborn
OTHER WORDS FROM stubborn
Words nearby stubborn
BEHIND THE WORD
Where does stubborn come from?
The origin of stubborn is itself fittingly stubborn, or “unreasonably obstinate.” We might assume stubborn is connected to stub, a “short, projecting part or remaining piece” that is often immovable and unyielding. But that just doesn’t seem to be true.
Stubborn is recorded around 1350–1400 and took such forms as stiborn(e), styborne, and stuborn. Beyond that, we just don’t really know. Thanks for nothing, stubborn.
Stubborn isn’t alone: it finds lots of company in other English words that seem simple but whose origins are not. Discover more in our slideshow “‘Dog,’ ‘Boy,’ And Other Words That We Don’t Know Where They Came From.”
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Looking for other synonyms for stubborn? Head on over to Thesaurus.com for loads more.
We usually consider stubbornness to be a bad quality of a close-minded person acting in some unreasonable way (such as a stubborn child) or refusing to change their mind (e.g., stubborn holdout). Stubborn is also used to describe inanimate things that refuse to budge or cooperate, as in a stubborn nail or stubborn belief.
The expression stubborn as a mule is used to describe an especially unwavering or uncooperative instance of stubbornness. The simile evokes the proverbial stubbornness of mules, who were once commonly used as draft animals.
Example sentences from the Web for stubborn
Some would call him stubborn for holding out on payoffs from the oil companies.
His stubborn efforts to fulfill his dream have yet to pay off, but he carefully lists all the near misses.The Most Depressing Show on Earth: Amongst the Clowns of Newark|Lizzie Crocker|March 16, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Most importantly, the biggest issue facing the country is our stubborn, stagnant unemployment.
“I was always defiant and stubborn in everything I did,” he said late in life.
The instructions become a tad irritating, especially for more independent or stubborn members of the audience.
But Geoffrey possessed all the stubborn determination of a true Englishman.The Vicar's People|George Manville Fenn
After stubborn resistance the Confederates had been forced to yield.The Story of a Cannoneer Under Stonewall Jackson|Edward A. Moore
The horse, frightened at the stubborn struggle between the two, sprang away.The Covered Wagon|Emerson Hough
But they made no headway with the prisoner, as he maintained a stubborn silence about himself and his associates.The Frontier Boys in the Sierras|Wyn Roosevelt
In view of what had been accomplished, it would have been impossible, even for the most stubborn democrat, to check the process.The Life of Napoleon Bonaparte|William Milligan Sloane