If you've ever seen a dog on a leash suddenly refuse to walk any farther, you know how much resistance one little pet can put up. Resistance means "refusal to comply with or accept something."

An individual person can put up resistance against something she disagrees with or doesn't want to participate in. On a larger scale, groups of people and even whole countries can display resistance, like when the British put up resistance against Napoleon. Another meaning of resistance is "the ability not to be affected by," like a resistance to getting colds, which you can imagine as your immune system putting up a fierce resistance against invading germs.

Primary Meanings of resistance

any mechanical force that tends to retard or oppose motion
an electrical device that resists the flow of electrical current
the capacity of an organism to defend itself against harmful environmental agents
(psychiatry) an unwillingness to bring repressed feelings into conscious awareness
Full Definitions of resistance

n any mechanical force that tends to retard or oppose motion

show 7 types...
hide 7 types...
friction, rubbing
the resistance encountered when one body is moved in contact with another
acoustic impedance, acoustic reactance, acoustic resistance
opposition to the flow of sound through a surface; acoustic resistance is the real component of acoustic impedance and acoustic reactance is the imaginary component
drag, retarding force
the phenomenon of resistance to motion through a fluid
abrasion, attrition, detrition, grinding
the wearing down of rock particles by friction due to water or wind or ice
adhesive friction, grip, traction
the friction between a body and the surface on which it moves (as between an automobile tire and the road)
sonic barrier, sound barrier
the increase in aerodynamic drag as an airplane approaches the speed of sound
the retarding force of air friction on a moving object
Type of:
mechanical phenomenon
a physical phenomenon associated with the equilibrium or motion of objects

n the action of opposing something that you disapprove or disagree with

“he encountered a general feeling of resistance from many citizens”
show 4 types...
hide 4 types...
a management action resisting employee's demands; employees are barred from entering the workplace until they agree to terms
doing something in opposition to another way of doing it that you don't like
anti-takeover defense
resistance to or defense against a hostile takeover
an adverse reaction to some political or social occurrence
Type of:
something done (usually as opposed to something said)

n group action in opposition to those in power

show 15 types...
hide 15 types...
confrontation, opposition
the act of hostile groups opposing each other
sales resistance
resistance by potential customers to aggressive selling practices
a defiant act
contravention, dispute
coming into conflict with
deliberate interference
dissent, objection, protest
the act of protesting; a public (often organized) manifestation of dissent
refusal to accept some authority or code or convention
insubordination, rebelliousness
an insubordinate act
a group's refusal to have commercial dealings with some organization in protest against its policies
confrontational activities intended to break up a strike by workers
direct action
a protest action by labor or minority groups to obtain their demands
demonstration, manifestation
a public display of group feelings (usually of a political nature)
the act of walking out (of a meeting or organization) as a sign of protest
obstinate rebelliousness and insubordination; resistance to authority
disobedience, noncompliance
the failure to obey
Type of:
group action
action taken by a group of people

n a secret group organized to overthrow a government or occupation force

the French underground that fought against the German occupation in World War II
Type of:
revolutionary group
a political unit organized to promote revolution

n the military action of resisting the enemy's advance

“the enemy offered little resistance
Type of:
action, military action
a military engagement

n an electrical device that resists the flow of electrical current

show 5 types...
hide 5 types...
ballast, ballast resistor, barretter
a resistor inserted into a circuit to compensate for changes (as those arising from temperature fluctuations)
potential divider, voltage divider
resistors connected in series across a voltage source; used to obtain a desired fraction of the voltage
rheostat, variable resistor
resistor for regulating current
a rheostat that varies the current through an electric light in order to control the level of illumination
pot, potentiometer
a resistor with three terminals, the third being an adjustable center terminal; used to adjust voltages in radios and TV sets
Type of:
electrical device
a device that produces or is powered by electricity

n a material's opposition to the flow of electric current; measured in ohms

electric resistance, electrical resistance, impedance, ohmic resistance, resistivity
the ohmic resistance of a conductor
Type of:
electrical phenomenon
a physical phenomenon involving electricity

n the capacity of an organism to defend itself against harmful environmental agents

“these trees are widely planted because of their resistance to salt and smog”
Type of:
capability, capacity
the susceptibility of something to a particular treatment

n (medicine) the condition in which an organism can resist disease

show 6 types...
hide 6 types...
the property of eliciting an immune response
acquired immunity
immunity to a particular disease that is not innate but has been acquired during life; immunity can be acquired by the development of antibodies after an attack of an infectious disease or by a pregnant mother passing antibodies through the placenta to a fetus or by vaccination
innate immunity, natural immunity
immunity to disease that occurs as part of an individual's natural biologic makeup
active immunity
a form of acquired immunity in which the body produces its own antibodies against disease-causing antigens
passive immunity
an impermanent form of acquired immunity in which antibodies against a disease are acquired naturally (as through the placenta to an unborn child) or artificially (as by injection of antiserum)
racial immunity
natural immunity shared by all members of a particular race
Type of:
condition, status
a state at a particular time

n the degree of unresponsiveness of a disease-causing microorganism to antibiotics or other drugs (as in penicillin-resistant bacteria)

Type of:
deadness, unresponsiveness
the quality of being unresponsive; not reacting; as a quality of people, it is marked by a failure to respond quickly or with emotion to people or events

n (psychiatry) an unwillingness to bring repressed feelings into conscious awareness

Type of:
involuntariness, unwillingness
the trait of being unwilling

Sign up, it's free!

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