When someone is beyond stubborn, use the word obstinate instead: "You obstinate old mule! Get out of my way!"

While stubborn may have positive or negative connotations, obstinate is most definitely negative, because it implies a kind of hard-headed determination not to change your mind even when it might be best to rethink your position. "The obstinate Man does not hold Opinions, but they hold him," wrote Samuel Butler way back in the seventeenth century. The word still does the trick if you want a put-down for someone you think is being a pig-headed fool or a stick in the mud.

Definitions of obstinate
  1. adjective
    tenaciously unwilling or marked by tenacious unwillingness to yield
    synonyms: stubborn, unregenerate
    inflexible, sturdy, uncompromising
    not making concessions
    not obeying or complying with commands of those in authority
    bloody-minded, cantankerous
    stubbornly obstructive and unwilling to cooperate
    bolshy, stroppy
    bullet-headed, bullheaded, pigheaded
    obstinate and stupid
    dogged, dour, persistent, pertinacious, tenacious, unyielding
    stubbornly unyielding
    contrarious, cross-grained
    difficult to deal with
    devoting full strength and concentrated attention to
    hardheaded, mulish
    unreasonably rigid in the face of argument or entreaty or attack
    haughtily stubborn
    strong-minded, strong-willed
    having a determined will
    not tractable; difficult to manage or mold
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    willing to be taught or led or supervised or directed
    dutifully complying with the commands or instructions of those in authority
    meek, tame
    very docile
    sheepish, sheeplike
    like or suggestive of a sheep in docility or stupidity or meekness or timidity
    inclined to yield to argument or influence or control
    manipulable, tractable
    easily managed (controlled or taught or molded)
    show more antonyms...
  2. adjective
    stubbornly persistent in wrongdoing
    synonyms: cussed, obdurate, unrepentant
    unregenerate, unregenerated
    not reformed morally or spiritually
  3. adjective
    resistant to guidance or discipline
    “an obstinate child with a violent temper”
    synonyms: contrary, perverse, wayward
    not obeying or complying with commands of those in authority
  4. verb
    persist stubbornly
    “he obstinates himself against all rational arguments”
    see moresee less
    type of:
    hang in, hang on, hold on, persevere, persist
    be persistent, refuse to stop
Word Family

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