1. Stubbornly resistant to or defiant of authority or guidance. See Synonyms at obstinate.
2. Difficult to manage or deal with: a recalcitrant problem.
3. Resistant to chemical decomposition; decomposing extremely slowly.
A recalcitrant person.
[Late Latin recalcitrāns, recalcitrant-, present participle of recalcitrāre, to be disobedient, from Latin, to deny access : re-, re- + calcitrāre, to kick (from calx, calc-, heel).]
re·calci·trance, re·calci·tran·cy n.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.