Definition of inflexible in US English:



  • 1Unwilling to change or compromise.

    ‘once she had made up her mind, she was inflexible’
    • ‘People over 35 were thought to be ‘too inflexible and unwilling to learn’.’
    • ‘When you disagree with her or won't go along with something she wants to do, she's completely inflexible and unwilling to compromise.’
    • ‘Here is a man who counts it a virtue to be inflexible and to hold firm in the face of changing circumstances.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, this often made him appear stubborn, inflexible, and difficult.’
    • ‘It appears that the Lord Advocate is being more inflexible than we had expected.’
    • ‘People who are more rigid and inflexible have more difficulty adapting, so you need to have lot of different kinds of skills in order to succeed?’
    • ‘Members of it are clearly trying to preserve a minority religion in a hostile world, trying to work out where they can afford to compromise with the mainstream and where they must remain inflexible.’
    • ‘You can't accuse Susan Davies of being inflexible…’
    • ‘The department chair described her as inflexible, defensive, and unwilling to take constructive advice.’
    • ‘Even in a small suburban committee, the inflexible zealot, the resourceful opportunist and the passive collaborator are never really equal in judgment or influence.’
    • ‘Stubborn, inflexible and goal oriented, they often jump to conclusions and miss the big picture.’
    • ‘And realising the truth made me something my mother was not - absolutely resolute and inflexible.’
    • ‘It also makes these people stubborn and inflexible, especially when it comes to their own convictions.’
    • ‘And I am not in favour of employers who are inflexible with regard to allowing people to go to Sunday worship.’
    • ‘Often inflexible and stubborn in their love lives, some will be prone to jealous rages.’
    • ‘Taureans, signified by the bull, were often described as obstinate and inflexible, while Pisceans could be risk-takers and daredevils.’
    • ‘They're too robotic and inflexible - too dependent on having a single party line to defend - the simpler, the better.’
    • ‘But I do not want to be locked, to be inflexible and stubborn.’
    • ‘It would appear that the new order of Catholicism is as equally inflexible and uncompromising, as the old order would appear to be.’
    • ‘I am trying to strike a balance between assertive and fair and stubborn and inflexible.’
    stubborn, obstinate, obdurate, intractable, intransigent, unbending, immovable, inexorable, unadaptable, unaccommodating
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Not able to be changed or adapted to particular circumstances.
      ‘inflexible rules’
      • ‘Rather than creating stress with a long list of inflexible resolutions, why not simply vow to do something - at least once every day - that you know is good for you.’
      • ‘Despite the rebound, worries persist about the zone's inflexible labour market while economic stagnation in Germany is still a dark cloud hanging over the entire region.’
      • ‘And it's not surprising that governments make inflexible stands in circumstances such as these relating to children.’
      • ‘They accuse universities of being inflexible, inefficient, and unaccountable, and they view the tenure system as an impediment to effective university governance.’
      • ‘The contract is inflexible, whatever the circumstances.’
      • ‘Many of the problems of inflexible economies and labour markets, and the problem of demographics (the working age population has ceased to grow) were already in existence before the euro was launched.’
      • ‘Too often we deliver services that are inflexible and fail to take account of real need.’
      • ‘Proponents and opponents have intense, inflexible and uncompromising opinions about abortion based on strong moral and/or civil liberties beliefs.’
      • ‘First, the structure of the colonial revenue system - with its high and inflexible tax rates - drastically increased peasant vulnerability to drought.’
      • ‘The Scottish funding structure is totally inflexible, and doesn't make any sense.’
      • ‘And then there's the double irony, since the song itself is actually produced by choice and artistic freedom: ultimately, it is a product of flexibility, though it is inflexible itself.’
      • ‘But we do not need an inflexible, suffocating and largely unaccountable institution which dictates every aspect of our lives.’
      • ‘The trouble is that the counterpart of high productivity is low employment because of the structure of French labour markets and the low level of consumer demand - labour markets that are even more inflexible than in Germany.’
      • ‘We had a problem in Europe which was that the labour market was inflexible and it was costing jobs.’
      • ‘Around 365 practices across Scotland have signed up to the project, known as the Scottish Primary Care Collaborative, sparking fears that thousands of patients are being hit by the inflexible system.’
      • ‘This week's inflexible attitudes and blinkered thinking is just the scenario you naughty Aquarians love to be outrageous and make mischief in’
      • ‘Though this will be effective in theory, the difficulty is the centralised distribution of state finances - an inflexible system that often causes funding delays.’
      • ‘Even after dismissing the foggy notion of ‘free will,’ few cognitive thinkers consider us automata driven by inflexible genes.’
      • ‘He has an inflexible regime and must stick to a timetable of food and injections.’
      • ‘After the Emancipation Proclamation, the Union's strategic goals were too comprehensive and inflexible to be thwarted by a single defeat.’
      unalterable, unchangeable, unvarying, unwavering, unshakeable, entrenched
      View synonyms
  • 2Not able to be bent; stiff.

    ‘the heavy inflexible armor of the beetles’
    • ‘When they're cold, they're stiff and inflexible, and forcibly stretching them could lead to injury or strains.’
    • ‘The mouse slid nicely across the surface, without any real resistance, although perhaps not quite as smoothly as on a hard, inflexible plastic mousepad.’
    • ‘Your vertebrae begin to grow together, forming vertical bony outgrowths and becoming stiff and inflexible.’
    • ‘Normal red blood cells are round and pliable, but in persons with sickle cell anemia these cells become firm and inflexible.’
    • ‘Janice was fairly stiff and inflexible, with a bad back, so the movements were geared to her level of ability.’
    • ‘Cancers of the tongue tend to be painful and cause the tongue to feel unnaturally stiff and inflexible.’
    • ‘The knight was bolted into a very heavy and largely inflexible armour equipped with a lance rest; jousting almost standing in his stirrups he was virtually impregnable - which was the idea.’
    • ‘The same could be true of the Gamma Pad, as they're both constructed of inflexible hard and thick plastic.’
    • ‘A high reading suggests that a patient has stiff, inflexible arteries, Klassen says.’
    • ‘The inner portion of the wing hardly moved at all, yet the primaries seemed to quiver, making the wing look stiff and inflexible.’
    • ‘The pants were stiff, inflexible, and suffered the same problem.’
    rigid, stiff, non-flexible, unyielding, unbending, unbendable, taut, hard, firm, inelastic
    View synonyms


Late Middle English: from Latin inflexibilis, from in- ‘not’ + flexibilis ‘flexible’.