Definition of intractable in US English:



  • 1Hard to control or deal with.

    ‘intractable economic problems’
    ‘intractable pain’
    • ‘In that case the patient had been diagnosed with terminal cancer or intractable pain connected up with the terminal cancer.’
    • ‘War is further seen as a means of diverting the attention of working people from the intractable social and economic crisis at home.’
    • ‘After years in the doldrums, the economy is picking up, and the seemingly intractable budget deficits have been avoided for the past two years.’
    • ‘This problem has grown increasingly intractable because of changing social expectations about parenthood.’
    • ‘Germany, with its intractable economic problems, is seriously considering it.’
    • ‘Now it represents one of the world's most intractable economies.’
    • ‘Spinal cord stimulators also are used in the treatment of intractable pain.’
    • ‘In part this flows from the recognition that many of the most intractable social problems are not simply economic or even political.’
    • ‘People with diabetes may develop a particularly intractable form of disordered eating that is not readily amenable to treatment.’
    • ‘Poverty remains intractable despite economic growth in many countries.’
    • ‘Given the intractable nature of controlling leaks, we need to try remedies that have not been tried before.’
    • ‘In the end he was beaten by Pandora, in whose box was not only the party demon but also the even more intractable economic and nationality devils.’
    • ‘Economic progress has been accompanied by wide income disparities and intractable social problems.’
    • ‘Nothing is more frightening - no economic problem more intractable - than a deflationary spiral.’
    • ‘The patient was admitted to the hospital with intractable abdominal pain.’
    • ‘Under those circumstances, it's hard not to simply decide that the problem is intractable and give up.’
    • ‘At the heart of the present political conflict is an intractable contradiction.’
    • ‘For severe intractable cancer pain, more potent long-acting opioids are recommended.’
    • ‘If all these measures fail and pain remains intractable, then below knee amputation may be needed.’
    • ‘Injections that block nerve transmission in the plexus may be helpful in the treatment of intractable abdominal pain, such as in cancer of the pancreas.’
    unmanageable, uncontrollable, ungovernable, out of control, out of hand, impossible to cope with
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    1. 1.1 (of a person) difficult or stubborn.
      • ‘They are intractable in their thinking, they are unreasoning and unreasonable and it's just a waste of breath to talk to them.’
      • ‘And he is similarly intractable on the matter of promotional activities, which he has strictly limited to three a week.’
      • ‘That is perhaps one reason why its peoples are so intractable and difficult.’
      • ‘She was brave, but she was also intractable, when she set her mind on something.’
      • ‘The recollection is of a religious zealot, a somewhat dull and intractable man in stark contrast to his master, the virile and volatile Henry VIII.’
      • ‘I suggested that it'd not stay healthy for long if it had no work to do but he was intractable.’
      • ‘The idea is to bring them on side, to drive a wedge between them and people they perceive as intractable opponents.’
      • ‘When Dana reached her side, he realized that she was intractable.’
      stubborn, obstinate, obdurate, inflexible, unadaptable, unmalleable, unbending, unyielding, uncompromising, unaccommodating, uncooperative, difficult, awkward, perverse, contrary, disobedient, indomitable, refractory, recalcitrant, pig-headed, bull-headed, wilful
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Late 15th century: from Latin intractabilis, from in- ‘not’ + tractabilis (see tractable).