Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Marked by stubborn resistance to and defiance of authority or guidance. See Synonyms at unruly.
  • n. A recalcitrant person.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Marked by a stubborn unwillingness to obey authority.
  • adj. Unwilling to cooperate socially.
  • adj. Difficult to deal with or to operate.
  • n. A person who is recalcitrant.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Kicking back; recalcitrating; hence, showing repugnance or opposition; refractory.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Refusing to submit; exhibiting repugnance or opposition; not submissive or compliant; refractory.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. marked by stubborn resistance to authority
  • adj. stubbornly resistant to authority or control

Etymologies

Late Latin recalcitrāns, recalcitrant-, present participle of recalcitrāre, to be disobedient, from Latin, to deny access : re-, re- + calcitrāre, to kick (from calx, calc-, heel).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin recalcitrāns, recalcitrantis, present participle of recalcitrō, recalcitrāre ("be disobedient"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

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Comments

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  • my authoritarian grandmother turns every servant recalcitrant

    July 22, 2013

  • "Words are as recalcitrant as circus animals, and the unskilled trainer can crack his whip at them in vain."
    - Gerald Brenan

    October 26, 2009

  • The bears have been recalcitrant this summer.

    August 19, 2008

  • Useful to describe children. "Ma'am, I'm afraid your child has been quite recalcitrant."

    August 19, 2008

  • ...By last week, this peculiar state of mind had not only sucked thousands of American oil wells dry, stripped the rubber groves of Malaya, produced the world's most inhuman industry and its most recalcitrant labor union, but had filled U.S. streets with so many automobiles that it was almost impossible to drive one...

    The Last Traffic Jam, Time Magazine, December 15, 1947

    June 7, 2008

  • ree-KAL-see-trent

    May 5, 2008

  • No, Mahathir Mohammed.

    December 13, 2007

  • Paul Keating.

    December 13, 2007