Definitions

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

  • adj. Obstinately resistant to authority or control. See Synonyms at unruly.
  • adj. Difficult to melt or work; resistant to heat: a refractory material such as silica.
  • adj. Resistant to treatment: a refractory case of acne.
  • n. One that is refractory.
  • n. Material that has a high melting point.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Obstinate in disobedience; contumacious; stubborn; unmanageable.
  • adj. 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.
  • n. A refractory person.
  • n. Refractoriness.
  • n. OPottery) A piece of ware covered with a vaporable flux and placed in a kiln, to communicate a glaze to the other articles.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • 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.
  • n. One who is obstinate in opposition or disobedience.
  • n. Obstinate opposition.
  • n. In pottery, a piece of ware covered with a vaporable flux and placed in a kiln to communicate a glaze to other articles.

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

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

Etymologies

Alteration (influenced by adjectives in -ory) of obsolete refractary, from Latin refrāctārius, from refrāctus, past participle of refringere, to break up; see refract.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin refractārius ("obstinate"), from refractus, past participle of refringere ("to break up"). Originally refractary reanalysed after other adjectives in -ory (Wiktionary)

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.

    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

  • It is true, however, that the judgment of the tribunals generally recalls the refractory client to a sense of gratitude and humility.

    The Count's Millions

  • "But, your reverence," cried Robinson, "don't let me be called a refractory prisoner when you know I am not."

    It Is Never Too Late to Mend

Comments

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  • 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

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

    October 6, 2007

  • 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