V2 Vocabulary Building Dictionary
Definition: 1. extremely difficult to manage, teach, or deal with because of strong will and resistance to change; 2. difficult to deal with or solve
Synonyms: difficult, uncooperative, wild, headstrong, tough, unruly, obstinate, obdurate, intransigent, refractory, inflexible, fractious
Antonyms: tractable, docile, compliant, cooperative
Tips: Intractable is derived from the Latin intractabilis, which means "not to be handled." Someone who is intractable is difficult and cannot be easily disciplined or doesn't follow directions. Something that is intractable is hard to move in a different direction. Remember that it means "not tractable" and someone who is tractable is docile and easy to teach or manage. For a memory trick, think of something so difficult to handle you couldn't even move it with a tractor--that would be intractable. Intractable is synonymous with obstinate and obdurate, when used to describe someone who is stubborn or resistant to change. Obstinate and obdurate are best used in the context of stubbornness, while intractable is best used to describe someone or something wild and rebellious, and resisting change out of rebellion. Intractable can also be used to describe a difficult and/or impossible to handle situation: "We have an intractable problem on our hands." Again, think of a tractor, but this time think of a tractor running out of control.
The horse was intractable and wouldn't make a good riding horse. (obstinate, wild)
We need to address this issue now, before we have an intractable problem on our hand. (out of control)
She was an intractable student who was often sent to the principal's office. (uncooperative, difficult, rebellious)
My new puppy is so intractable, not even obedience school could teach him to behave. (headstrong, difficult, unruly)
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