One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Originally: to kick out, to kick backwards. Later in extended use: to show vigorous opposition or resistance; to be obstinately disobedient or refractory.
2With against or at.
Early 17th century; earliest use found in William Vaughan (c1575–1641), writer and promoter of colonization in Newfoundland. From classical Latin recalcitrāt-, past participial stem of recalcitrāre to kick out (Horace), to be refractory (Vetus Latina, Vulgate) from re- + calcitrāre.
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