One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1‘a refractory child’
obstinate, stubborn, stubborn as a mule, mulish, bull-headed, pig-headed, obdurate, headstrong, self-willed, wayward, wilful, perverse, contrary, recalcitrant, obstreperous, disobedient, insubordinate, rebellious, mutinous, defiant, stiff-necked, intractable, intransigent, unyielding, unmalleable, unmanageable, ungovernable, unpersuadable
British informal bloody-minded, bolshie, stroppy
North American informal balky
archaic contumacious, froward
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