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Mid-15th century, from Latin obduratus (hardened), form of obdūrō (harden), from ob- (against) + dūrō (harden, render hard), from durus (hard).[1] Compare durable, endure.


  • (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈɒbdʒʊɹɪt/, /ˈɒbdjʊɹɪt/, /ˈɒbdʒəɹɪt/, /-ət/
  • (General American) IPA(key): /ˈɑbd(j)ʊɹɪt/, /ˈɑbd(j)əɹɪt/, /-ət/
  • (file)
  • Sometimes accented on the second syllable, especially by the older poets.


obdurate (comparative more obdurate, superlative most obdurate)

  1. Stubbornly persistent, generally in wrongdoing; refusing to reform or repent.
    Synonym: (obsolete) obdure
    • 1594–1597, Richard Hooker, edited by J[ohn] S[penser], Of the Lawes of Ecclesiastical Politie, [], London: [] Will[iam] Stansby [for Matthew Lownes], published 1611, →OCLC, (please specify the page):
      [] sometimes the very custom of evil making the heart obdurate against whatsoever instructions to the contrary []
    • 1593, [William Shakespeare], Venus and Adonis, London: [] Richard Field, [], →OCLC; 2nd edition, London: [] Richard Field, [], 1594, →OCLC, [verse 34], lines [199–200]:
      Art thou obdurate, flintie, hard as ſteele? / Nay more then flint, for ſtone at raine relenteth: []
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book I”, in Paradise Lost. [], London: [] [Samuel Simmons], [], →OCLC; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: [], London: Basil Montagu Pickering [], 1873, →OCLC, lines 56–58:
      [] round he throws his baleful eyes
      That witness'd huge affliction and dismay
      Mixt with obdurate pride and stedfast hate:
    • 1818, Percy Bysshe Shelley, “(please specify the page)”, in The Revolt of Islam; [], London: [] [F]or C[harles] and J[ames] Ollier, []; by B. M‘Millan, [], →OCLC, stanza 9:
      But custom maketh blind and obdurate
      The loftiest hearts.
    • 2011 February 12, Les Roopanarine, “Birmingham 1 - 0 Stoke”, in BBC[1]:
      An injury-time goal from Nikola Zigic against an obdurate Stoke side gave Birmingham back-to back Premier League wins for the first time in 14 months.
    • 2017 September 7, Ferdinand Mount, “Umbrageousness”, in London Review of Books[2]:
      What Tharoor dismisses as mere ‘positive by-products’ Lalvani sees as central to the India the British left behind: the botanic gardens, the forest conservancies, the Archaeological Survey of India (brainchild of the otherwise obdurate Curzon) and the free press.
  2. (obsolete) Physically hardened, toughened.
    • 2012, Stephen King, 11/22/63, page 827:
      The past is obdurate for the same reason a turtle's shell is obdurate: because the living flesh inside is tender and defenseless.
  3. Hardened against feeling; hard-hearted.


Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]


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obdurate (third-person singular simple present obdurates, present participle obdurating, simple past and past participle obdurated)

  1. (transitive, obsolete) To harden; to obdure.


  1. ^ Douglas Harper (2001–2024) “obdurate”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.





  1. second-person plural present active imperative of obdūrō