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

adj tenaciously unwilling or marked by tenacious unwillingness to yield

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
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...

adj stubbornly persistent in wrongdoing

cussed, obdurate, unrepentant
unregenerate, unregenerated
not reformed morally or spiritually

adj resistant to guidance or discipline

“an obstinate child with a violent temper”
contrary, perverse, wayward
not obeying or complying with commands of those in authority

v persist stubbornly

“he obstinates himself against all rational arguments”
Type of:
hang in, hang on, hold on, persevere, persist
be persistent, refuse to stop

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.