"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults


[in-trak-tuh-buh l] /ɪnˈtræk tə bəl/
not easily controlled or directed; not docile or manageable; stubborn; obstinate:
an intractable disposition.
(of things) hard to shape or work with:
an intractable metal.
hard to treat, relieve, or cure:
the intractable pain in his leg.
an intractable person.
Origin of intractable
1535-45; < Latin intractābilis. See in-3, tractable
Related forms
intractability, intractableness, noun
intractably, adverb
1. perverse, headstrong, dogged, obdurate, stony, willful, froward. 1, 2. fractious, refractory, unbending, inflexible, adamant, unyielding. See unruly.
1. amiable. 1, 2. amenable, flexible. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for intractable
  • They are in fact powerful tools that can help people change bad behavior patterns, even those that seem intractable.
  • It was a brilliant simplification of an intractable problem.
  • Another reason is more intractable: the grandstanding politician.
  • People who live with intractable pain do become physically dependent on opiates when taken regularly.
  • Skepticism-true skepticism, not the intractable bias characteristic of denial-is absolutely fundamental to the scientific method.
  • The intractable complexities of fact produce the inevitable ambiguities of faith.
  • Contaminant control is intractable only if the bio reactor is open to the outside air and water supply, as in a pond.
  • And the discovery seemed to push some intractable opponents of this idea farther out on a limb.
  • Stem cell therapy is applicable to a small segment of unfortunate patients with intractable disease.
  • Now as then, the same intractable questions were avoided and in the end successfully evaded.
British Dictionary definitions for intractable


difficult to influence or direct: an intractable disposition
(of a problem, illness, etc) difficult to solve, alleviate, or cure
difficult to shape or mould, esp with the hands
Derived Forms
intractability, intractableness, noun
intractably, adverb
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
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Word Origin and History for intractable

c.1500, "rough, stormy;" 1540s, "not manageable," from Latin intractabilis "not to be handled, unmanageable," from in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + tractabilis (see tractable). Related: Intractably.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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intractable in Medicine

intractable in·trac·ta·ble (ĭn-trāk'tə-bəl)

  1. Difficult to manage or govern; stubborn.

  2. Difficult to alleviate, remedy, or cure.

in·trac'ta·bil'i·ty n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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