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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

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A Word A Day — obdurate

Good morning, Netizens...

November 24, 2012

Word of the Day

  • obdurate
  • audio pronunciation
  • \AHB-duh-rut\


a : stubbornly persistent in wrongdoing b : hardened in feelings
: resistant to persuasion or softening influences

I pleaded with my boss for a second chance, explaining the unusual circumstances that had caused my tardiness, but he remained obdurate.

"Even with a regime as obdurate as the one in Tehran, it's better to talk with one's adversaries than to freeze them out." — From an editorial in The Toronto Star, September 9, 2012


When you are confronted with someone obdurate, you may end up feeling dour. During the encounter, you may find that you need to be durable to keep your sanity intact. Maybe you will find such situations less stressful in the future if you can face them knowing that the words "obdurate," "dour," "during," and "durable" are etymological cousins. All of those words trace back to the Latin adjective "durus," which means "hard." A form of this adjective can still be found in "dura mater," the name for the tough fibrous material that surrounds the brain and spinal cord; it comes from a Medieval Latin phrase meaning, literally, "hard mother."

Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.