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[stuhb-ern] /ˈstʌb ərn/
unreasonably obstinate; obstinately unmoving:
a stubborn child.
fixed or set in purpose or opinion; resolute:
a stubborn opponent of foreign aid.
obstinately maintained, as a course of action:
a stubborn resistance.
difficult to manage or suppress:
a stubborn horse; a stubborn pain.
hard, tough, or stiff, as stone or wood; difficult to shape or work.
Origin of stubborn
1350-1400; Middle English stiborn(e), styborne, stuborn < ?
Related forms
stubbornly, adverb
stubbornness, noun
prestubborn, adjective
unstubborn, adjective
unstubbornly, adverb
unstubbornness, noun
1. contrary, intractable, refractory, unyielding, headstrong, obdurate. 2. persevering. Stubborn, dogged, obstinate, persistent imply fixity of purpose or condition and resistance to change. Stubborn and obstinate both imply resistance to advice, entreaty, remonstrance, or force; but stubborn implies more of innate quality and is the more frequently used when referring to inanimate things: stubborn disposition; stubborn difficulties. Dogged implies pertinacity and grimness in doing something, especially in the face of discouragements: dogged determination. Persistent implies having staying or lasting qualities, resoluteness, and perseverance: persistent questioning.
1. tractable. 2. irresolute. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for stubborn
  • For particularly stubborn ones, try adding a bit more hot liquid to ease them out while you whisk.
  • Lastly, keep an open mind and don't be stubborn in your approach to graduate school.
  • The freaking stubborn machine again makes the x-axis correspond to age groups, and the colored bands correspond to year.
  • The real reasons are fear of change, stubborn self-interest, and arrogance.
  • Perhaps even new technologies that will overcome our stubborn resistance to mental change.
  • He does not think he is depressed and is stubborn to even consider taking any medication for depression.
  • All that philosophy can teach is to be stubborn or sullen under misfortune.
  • We even see the effect on the stubborn prelates, who declare that they will go on in their wickedness in spite of all attacks.
  • The tongue which is yielding endures, the teeth which are stubborn perish.
  • One needs a will stubborn in conflict, but apt always to the total acceptance of every consequence of living and dying.
British Dictionary definitions for stubborn


refusing to comply, agree, or give in; obstinate
difficult to handle, treat, or overcome
persistent and dogged: a stubborn crusade
Derived Forms
stubbornly, adverb
stubbornness, noun
Word Origin
C14 stoborne, of obscure origin
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 stubborn

late 14c., of uncertain origin. Earliest form is stiborn. OED, Liberman doubt any connection with stub (n.). Related: Stubbornly; stubbornness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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