Definitions

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

  • adjective Showing or characterized by obstinate resistance to authority or control.
  • adjective Difficult to melt or work; resistant to heat.
  • adjective Resistant to treatment.
  • noun One that is refractory, especially a material that has a high melting point.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Resisting; unyielding; sullen or perverse in opposition or disobedience; obstinate in non-compliance; stubborn and unmanageable.
  • Resisting ordinary treatment or strains, etc.; difficult of fusion, reduction, or the like: said especially of metals and the like that require an extraordinary degree of heat to fuse them, or that do not yield readily to the hammer.
  • Not susceptible; not subject; resisting (some influence, as of disease).
  • Synonyms Stubborn, Intractable, etc. (see obstinate), unruly, ungovernable, unmanageable, headstrong, mulish.
  • noun One who is obstinate in opposition or disobedience.
  • noun Obstinate opposition.
  • noun In pottery, a piece of ware covered with a vaporable flux and placed in a kiln to communicate a glaze to other articles.

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

  • adjective Obstinate in disobedience; contumacious; stubborn; unmanageable.
  • adjective Resisting ordinary treatment; difficult of fusion, reduction, or the like; -- said especially of metals and the like, which do not readily yield to heat, or to the hammer.
  • noun A refractory person.
  • noun obsolete Refractoriness.
  • noun OPottery) A piece of ware covered with a vaporable flux and placed in a kiln, to communicate a glaze to the other articles.

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

  • adjective Obstinate and unruly; strongly opposed to something.
  • adjective Not affected by great heat.
  • adjective medicine Difficult to treat.
  • adjective biology Incapable of registering a reaction or stimulus.
  • noun A material or piece of material, such as a brick, that has a very high melting point.

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

  • adjective temporarily unresponsive or not fully responsive to nervous or sexual stimuli
  • adjective not responding to treatment
  • noun lining consisting of material with a high melting point; used to line the inside walls of a furnace
  • adjective stubbornly resistant to authority or control

Etymologies

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

[Alteration (influenced by adjectives in –ory) of obsolete refractary, from Latin refrāctārius, from refrāctus, past participle of refringere, to break up; see refract.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin refractārius ("obstinate"), from refractus, past participle of refringere ("to break up"). Originally refractary reanalysed after other adjectives in -ory

Examples

  • For the purpose of this book the term refractory will cover clays and materials that are suitable to be used in a potter's kiln fired up to

    1. Refractories

  • Lou Dobbs, that paragon of choice xenophobic political battles to pick and win, hopped on this “American Otherness” bandwagon like it was the last copter out of Saigon and is riding it for all it's stupidly worth — which is pretty much just huzzahs and dittoes from the scrape-knuckled fucktards who flock to him post-their mid-afternoon Limbaugh-lovin 'refractory period.

    “Res-pect Mah Authori-taaaaaayyyyh!”

  • Lou Dobbs, that paragon of choice xenophobic political battles to pick and win, hopped on this “American Otherness” bandwagon like it was the last copter out of Saigon and is riding it for all it's stupidly worth — which is pretty much just huzzahs and dittoes from the scrape-knuckled fucktards who flock to him post-their mid-afternoon Limbaugh-lovin 'refractory period.

    Archive 2009-08-01

  • Within a month, De Courcy heard that the castles were pulled down, and, on his calling his refractory vassal to account, received a truly Irish answer: MacMahon said he had not promised to hold stones, but land, and it was contrary to his nature to couch within cold stones, when the warm woods were so nigh.

    Cameos from English History, from Rollo to Edward II

  • Any hard, woody materials -- Howard called them "refractory" -- must be thoroughly broken up before composting, otherwise the fermentation would not be vigorous, rapid, and uniform throughout the process.

    Organic Gardener's Composting

  • ROME -- Long-term gout patients should not be considered "refractory" -- and clinicians should not treat them as such -- until uric crystals are dissolved to the point that flares of pain are prevented, a researcher said here.

    Medicaid and Medicare

  • Natural graphite is used mostly in what are called refractory applications.

    Graphite

  • By industrial standards a clay is called refractory when it does not soften below 1580 °C.

    1. Refractories

  • Ameni enquired of them as to the preparations for the festival of the morrow, and then desired the chief haruspex to call the refractory pupils together in the school-court.

    Uarda : a Romance of Ancient Egypt — Volume 05

  • Ameni enquired of them as to the preparations for the festival of the morrow, and then desired the chief haruspex to call the refractory pupils together in the school-court.

    Uarda : a Romance of Ancient Egypt — Volume 05

Comments

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  • Making reference to the refractory period - when the body is unable to orgasm due to the short recover period necessary after a successful orgasm.

    October 6, 2007

  • Is there such a thing as an unsuccessful orgasm? Hmm...

    October 6, 2007

  • Prose is by nature unstable and self-interfering; it is refractory and uncontainable. Prose does not so much flow as overflow.

    Viktor Shklovsky, Theory of Prose

    December 14, 2011

  • stubbornly resistant to authority or control

    Used to studious high school students, Martha was unprepared for the refractory Kindergarteners who neither sat still nor listened to a single word she said.

    October 19, 2016