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The Complete Vocabulary Builder Workbook



How to pronounce recalcitrant (audio)

Dictionary definition of recalcitrant

Stubbornly resistant to authority or control, often in a rebellious or non-cooperative way.
"The class of recalcitrant teenagers were impossible to teach."

Detailed meaning of recalcitrant

It is used to describe individuals who are difficult to manage, uncooperative, or simply defiant. A recalcitrant person may refuse to comply with rules, regulations, or social norms, and may actively resist attempts to discipline or correct their behavior. This term is often used to describe unruly children or teenagers, but it can also be applied to adults who refuse to follow the law or conform to societal norms.

Example sentences containing recalcitrant

1. The recalcitrant child refused to do his homework, despite his parents' insistence.
2. Her recalcitrant attitude towards learning new software slowed down the team's progress.
3. Even with a lot of encouragement, the recalcitrant horse refused to jump the hurdle.
4. We were unable to proceed with the project due to the recalcitrant behavior of our stakeholders.
5. The recalcitrant students were a constant challenge for the new teacher.
6. The diplomat faced a recalcitrant opposition during the peace negotiations.

History and etymology of recalcitrant

The adjective 'recalcitrant' finds its etymological origins in the Latin word 'recalcitrans,' which is a combination of 're,' indicating 'back' or 'against,' and 'calcitrare,' meaning 'to kick.' In Latin, 'recalcitrans' referred to an obstinate or unruly horse that kicked back against attempts to control it. This term was later adopted into English as 'recalcitrant,' retaining its essence of being stubbornly resistant to authority or control, often in a rebellious or non-cooperative manner. The etymology of 'recalcitrant' vividly portrays the image of a defiant horse kicking back, serving as a metaphor for individuals or entities that resist direction or authority in a similarly unyielding manner.

Quiz: Find the meaning of recalcitrant

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Further usage examples of recalcitrant

1. She found herself dealing with a recalcitrant computer program that resisted all her attempts to install it.
2. The recalcitrant dog refused to follow any commands, frustrating its new owner.
3. Despite the incentives, the recalcitrant employees resisted the changes in the company.
4. The recalcitrant weeds in the garden kept growing back no matter how often they were removed.
5. He was a recalcitrant teenager who seemed to reject any form of authority.
6. The jury was recalcitrant, unwilling to reach a unanimous decision.
7. Despite the clear evidence, the recalcitrant suspect maintained his innocence.
8. His recalcitrant behavior during the court proceedings did not help his case.
9. My recalcitrant car refused to start on this cold winter morning.
10. The team's recalcitrant attitude towards the new coach led to a lot of friction.
11. We had to postpone the experiment due to the recalcitrant machinery.
12. The recalcitrant bureaucracy slowed down the implementation of new policies.
13. She could not persuade her recalcitrant cat to take its medication.
14. The old, recalcitrant software system was a roadblock in the company's digital transformation.



obstinate, compliant, obedient, cooperative


Suffix -ant, GRE 6 (Graduate Record Examination), Conduct and Character, Adversities and Complications, Crisis and Opposition, Command and Constraint, Demanding and Challenging, Adversity and Obstacle, Persistence and Perseverance, Hostility and Opposition

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