Thursday, January 8, 2015

Word of the Week: Recalcitrant

It's everyone's favorite day of the week!

Word: recalcitrant

How you say it: [re-kal-si-truhnt]

What it is: adjective, noun

What it means: adj. 1.) resisting authority or control; not obedient or compliant; refractory. 2.) hard to deal with, manage, or operate. n. 3.) a recalcitrant person. (Definition courtesy of

[Side note: a related word is recalcitrance; this is the noun form of the adjective, sort of like you get reluctance from reluctantRecalcitrant and reluctant share a similar concept of ‘unwillingness’ but they aren’t synonymous.  Reluctant  suggests hesitance whereas recalcitrant suggests refusal.]

Use it three times and it's yours! Using a word three times can help it stick in your memory.

The sergeant glared at the new recruits, ready to weed out any recalcitrants.

The students were recalcitrant the minute they discovered they had a substitute teacher.

The recalcitrant horse refused to obey its rider’s commands.

Bonus round: Sally went to dinner with her new friend, Harry Calcitrant. (Insert SpongeBob laugh here.)


  1. Alright! Time to get back into the swing of things!

    1) Kevin's newfound recalcitrance was a constant source of confusion to his uncle.
    2) I may be one of the least recalcitrant teenagers you will ever meet.
    3) My Integrated Communications class is the most recalcitrant group of students I have ever encountered.

    Grammar-wise, do you think the "to" in the first sentence would be better as a "for" or something else?

    1. Technically speaking, 'for' is correct. If you leave out "of confusion," you're left with "constant source to his uncle." In this case, 'for' is preferable. On the other hand, people don't always use the 'proper' prepositions when speaking...for example, we frequently say "I'm angry at you," but the proper way to say it would be "I'm angry with you."

      TL;DR: If it's outside quotation marks, 'for' is correct. If it's inside quotation marks, either one is fine.

    2. Got it! Thanks! That cleared up two questions at once.