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refractory (ri-FRAK-tuhr-ree)

1. Hard to manage; stubborn.
2. Resistant to usual methods or treatment.
3. Difficult to fuse: resistant to high temperature.

A heat-resistant material.

[From alteration of refractary, from Latin refractarius (stubborn), from refractus, past participle of refringere (to break up), from re- + frangere (to break).]

"There is nothing so awful - whether a week's-worth of rain, a marital quarrel, a refractory child - that it cannot be resolved in the kitchen."
Keith Botsford; Season of Soups and Mellow Vegetableness; The Independent (London, UK); Nov 6, 1993.

"Though the Nobel laureate (William Faulkner) could often be indulgent with children, he was essentially a withdrawn and refractory man."
Michael Dirda; Mississippi in the Summer!; The Washington Post; Aug 11, 2002.

See more usage examples of refractory in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

This week's theme: Words to describe people


The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity... and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself. -William Blake, poet, engraver, and painter (1757-1827)

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