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From Middle English obstinate, obstinat, from Latin obstinātus, past participle of obstinō (set one's mind firmly upon, resolve), from ob (before) + *stinare, from stare (to stand).

Alternative forms[edit]


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈɒb.stɪ.nət/, /ˈɒb.stɪ.nɪt/
  • (US) enPR: äb'stənət, IPA(key): /ˈɑb.stə.nət/, /ˈɑb.stə.nɪt/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation (US): ob‧sti‧nate


obstinate (comparative more obstinate, superlative most obstinate)

  1. Stubbornly adhering to an opinion, purpose, or course, usually with implied unreasonableness; persistent.
    • 1686, Montaigne, translated by Charles Cotton, "That men are justly punished for being obstinate in the defence of a fort that is not in reason to be defended",
      From this consideration it is that we have derived the custom, in times of war, to punish [] those who are obstinate to defend a place that by the rules of war is not tenable []
    • 1848, William Makepeace Thackeray, Vanity Fair, Chapter 21:
      [] the junior Osborne was quite as obstinate as the senior: when he wanted a thing, quite as firm in his resolution to get it; and quite as violent when angered, as his father in his most stern moments
  2. Said of inanimate things not easily subdued or removed.
    • 1927, Gandhi, translated by Mahadev Desai, An Autobiography or The Story of my Experiments with Truth, Part IV, Chapter XXIX,
      Now it happened that Kasturbai [] had again begun getting haemorrhage, and the malady seemed to be obstinate.


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  1. vocative masculine singular of obstinātus