Definition of stubborn in English:



  • 1Having or showing dogged determination not to change one's attitude or position on something, especially in spite of good arguments or reasons to do so.

    ‘a stubborn refusal to learn from experience’
    ‘two stubborn young people intent on doing their own thing’
    • ‘I'm too stubborn to admit that I'm in love with him.’
    • ‘The two were just too stubborn to admit that they were wrong and the other was right.’
    • ‘Jim can be just as stubborn at times.’
    • ‘Michael wished Manda hadn't been so stubborn not to let him pay the bills.’
    • ‘I'm just as stubborn, if not more so, than you are.’
    • ‘I want us to have children every bit as stubborn as we are!’
    • ‘The most stubborn resistance was in east-central Paris.’
    • ‘And then there is that stubborn streak in him that always fired him up.’
    • ‘"You get that stubborn streak from your mother, you know, " he said, grinning.’
    • ‘They are, alas, meeting with the same stubborn resistance as Cliff.’
    • ‘Lex, see what you miss with your stubborn refusal to own a T.V.?’
    • ‘The group's stubborn refusal to rejoice in their achievement strikes me as strange.’
    • ‘But I won't try to stop you, I know how stubborn you are.’
    • ‘I liked the stubborn resistance my dragon hunter had to face throughout the game.’
    • ‘The rage bubbled up inside of me again at his stubborn insistence.’
    • ‘How could they convince the stubborn, mule headed men to not duel?’
    • ‘I am stubborn at times, and this is one of those times.’
    • ‘Neither of us likes to give up; you might call us stubborn.’
    • ‘Call me stubborn but once I've started something then I'm going to finish it.’
    • ‘China's stubborn adherence to the " one China " principle is obviously aimed at restraining Taiwan.’
    obstinate, stubborn as a mule, mulish, headstrong, wilful, strong-willed, self-willed, pig-headed, bull-headed, obdurate, awkward, difficult, contrary, perverse, recalcitrant, refractory
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Difficult to move, remove, or cure.
      ‘the removal of stubborn screws’
      • ‘Trouble is it's so hot it's difficult to remove those stubborn stains.’
      • ‘Cheap booze, an eclectic clientele and a stubborn refusal to move with the times have drawn generations of tipplers.’
      • ‘Do not be tempted to scrub the gloss finish of the rod itself with the scourer to remove those stubborn mackerel scales.’
      • ‘Usually simple anti-inflammatories will settle it, but a stubborn one may need a minor op to remove it.’
      • ‘The number 6 had been pretty easy to remove but the 3 proved to be more stubborn.’
      • ‘The next 5 pounds, however, were a little bit more stubborn.’
      • ‘I'm scrubbing a particularly stubborn stain when I hear a key in the lock and I freeze.’
      • ‘The roads were wet from the sprays of the municipal cleaners and all that was left was the more stubborn of the chalky white outlines.’
      • ‘All hopes of hot bath or a soothing gin lay beyond the stubborn green door with its pretty stained glass panels.’
      • ‘I am watching him extract stubborn weeds, while I and my big pregnant belly look on from the grass.’
      • ‘Then the skeletons, stubborn bits of flesh and muscle still clinging to the bones, move on to the bug room.’
      indelible, permanent, lingering, persistent, tenacious, fast, resistant
      View synonyms


    (as) stubborn as a mule
    • Extremely stubborn.

      • ‘I ride him at home and he is quite a character, as stubborn as a mule.’
      • ‘You know that I'm as stubborn as a mule and if I wanted to be, I could be mad at you forever, but I can't be.’
      • ‘You're great-great-grandmother was like this, stubborn as a mule.’
      • ‘Grandmama was threatening to switch me, but I was stubborn as a mule.’
      • ‘They smell, they drool, they're stubborn as a mule.’
      • ‘‘Well, he said that Talison is beautiful and stubborn as a mule,’ Joss said casually.’
      • ‘She was blunt, short-tempered, arrogant, independent, out-spoken, and stubborn as a mule.’
      • ‘They may be stubborn as a mule, but that doesn't mean they won't budge.’
      • ‘Even though she wasn't here, and even though his father was as stubborn as a mule, Caspian wasn't particularly worried.’
      • ‘She was as stubborn as a mule with an ego as big as the Pacific Ocean.’
      stubborn as a mule, mulish, headstrong, wilful, strong-willed, self-willed, pig-headed, bull-headed, obdurate, awkward, difficult, contrary, perverse, recalcitrant, refractory
      View synonyms


Middle English (originally in the sense ‘untameable, implacable’): of unknown origin.