from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Not changing in response to argument or other influence; obstinate or intractable.
  • adjective Hardened in wrongdoing or wickedness; stubbornly impenitent.
  • adjective Hardened against feeling; hardhearted.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To harden; confirm in resistance; make obdurate.
  • Hardened, especially against moral influences; wickedly resisting.
  • Hard-hearted; inexorable; unyielding; stubborn.
  • Inflexible; stiff; harsh.
  • Synonyms Obdurate, Callous, Hardened. These words all retain the original meaning of physical hardening, although it is obsolescent with obdurate. In the moral signification, the figure is most felt in the use of callous, which indicates sensibilities to right and wrong deadened by hard treatment, like callous flesh. Hardened is less definite, it being not always clear whether the person is viewed as made hard by circumstances or as having hardened himself against better influences and proper claims. Obdurate is the strongest, and implies most of determination and active resistance. See obstinate.
  • Unbending, unsusceptible, insensible.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb obsolete To harden.
  • adjective Hardened in feelings, esp. against moral or mollifying influences; unyielding; hard-hearted; stubbornly wicked.
  • adjective Hard; harsh; rugged; rough; intractable.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Stubbornly persistent, generally in wrongdoing; refusing to reform or repent.
  • adjective obsolete Physically hardened, toughened.

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

  • adjective stubbornly persistent in wrongdoing
  • adjective showing unfeeling resistance to tender feelings


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

Middle English obdurat, from Late Latin obdūrātus, past participle of obdūrāre, to harden, from Latin, to be hard, endure : ob-, intensive pref.; see ob- + dūrus, hard; see deru- in Indo-European roots.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Mid 15th century, from Latin obduratus ("hardened"), form of obdūrō, from ob- ("against") + dūrō ("harden, render hard"), from durus ("hard"). Compare durable, endure.


  • Geithner plainly has no patience for what he describes as the obdurate unwillingness of colleagues to subordinate their desire for superficial impact to the larger vision.

    Inside Man

  • He also defended his seizure of white-owned farms, saying the program pitted the majority against the white minority he described as obdurate and backed by the British.

    ANC Daily News Briefing

  • In their valuation of the distribution of grace, theologians distinguish somewhat sharply between ordinary sinners (among whom they include habitual and relapsing sinners) and those sinners whose intellect is blinded, and whose heart is hardened, the so-called obdurate sinners (obcaecati et indurati, impaenitentes).

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 6: Fathers of the Church-Gregory XI

  • He thrilled even now at the recollection of the Hadendowas leaping and stabbing through the breach of McNeil's zareba six miles from Suakin; he recalled the obdurate defence of the Berkshires, the steadiness of the Marines, the rallying of the broken troops.

    The Four Feathers

  • You won't hear American announcers call an "obdurate defense," a terrific pass a "rapier thrust" or a tying goal the "equalizer."

    NYT > Home Page

  • She said the LRC was extremely proud of its achievements with the community that included a victory in the Constitutional Court, against "obdurate" opposition by government.

    ANC Daily News Briefing

  • He also defended his seizure of white-owned farms, saying the program pitted the majority against an "obdurate" racial minority which he alleged was "supported and manipulated" by Blair.

    ANC Daily News Briefing

  • George passed from life with the kind of obdurate resistance and strength of spirit with which he had lived.

    The Globe and Mail - Home RSS feed

  • Demonstrating the kind of obdurate thickness most commonly found in that foreign land known as Washington, Augusta County supervisors - five of them at least, the Gang of Six having been diminished by one - acted Wednesday in accordance with an inevitability predetermined by them.

    News for Waynesboro News Virginian

  • '' obdurate '' position was allowing Pakistan†™ s militaristic constituency to up the ante and build up a hostile atmosphere at the expense of its peace-seeking civil society, undermining US goals in Afghanistan.

    The Times of India


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  • Milton accents the U - obdúrate

    July 15, 2008

  • I went to see a production of the Mikado at university ... with my Japanese girlfriend. That was an experience.

    April 18, 2008

  • Ah, frindley, such memories. As elementary-schoolers, we put on a production of The Mikado and thought it was the grandest thing ever. :-)

    April 18, 2008

  • "And if you remain callous and obdurate, I

    Shall perish as he did, and you will know why,

    Though I probably shall not exclaim as I die,

    'Oh, willow, titwillow, titwillow!'"

    – from "On a tree by a river a little tom-tit"

    (Sung by Ko-Ko in The Mikado)

    April 18, 2008

  • November 2, 2007

  • Hardened in wrongdoing or sin; stubbornly impenitent; resistant or insensible to moral influence.

    Usage: The number of obdurate papists and Italianate atheists is great at this time. (1572)

    February 3, 2007