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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 stubbornness
  • They scrolled across the northern emptiness, telling a long tale of human stubbornness and indecision.
  • The doctors had given up, and only plain stubbornness by the family got the treatment that saved his life.
  • Cooperation would be rewarded, stubbornness punished.
  • Though the red-shirt cause outgrew him, his stubbornness seems to have undone the peace talks.
  • And his stubbornness seems to have undone the peace talks, despite his protestations.
  • His inflexibility may not be merely the product of stubbornness, however.
  • Don't let stubbornness keep you and a loved one apart.
  • Great innovations have foundered over human stubbornness.
  • Brown's reputation for stubbornness paid off, allowing him to maintain bargaining leverage.
  • She had inherited, too, her father's pride and sometimes willful stubbornness.
British Dictionary definitions for stubbornness


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 stubbornness



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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