Definition of refractory in English:

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Pronunciation: /rɪˈfrakt(ə)ri/


1Stubborn or unmanageable: his refractory pony
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  • In his reply, Mr Goggins said: ‘Special accommodation may only be used for the temporary confinement of a violent or refractory prisoner, and not as punishment.’
  • Capulet's attitude to his refractory daughter is precisely that of my Muslim patients' fathers.
  • Threats of the same treatment prevented refractory congregations from using disused churches they had hired for private worship.
2Resistant to a process or stimulus: some granules are refractory to secretory stimuli it will treat ores considered refractory to normal flotation methods
More example sentences
  • However, Model 4 cannot reproduce the cellular response to sensory stimuli during the refractory phase of the flagellar motor, because this functional phase was deliberately neglected for a first estimate.
  • When stimulated after the refractory phase (2 s after the spontaneous reversal or later), the cells responded within ~ 2 s to the stimulus.
  • At the time-point of stimulation, the cells had recovered from the refractory phase and were fully responsive, whereas nearly none of the cells had reversed spontaneously.
2.1 Medicine (Of a person, illness, or diseased tissue) not yielding to treatment: healing of previously refractory ulcers
More example sentences
  • Caspofungin is a Protocol Drug at UIHC and may only be used in patients who are refractory to or intolerant of amphotericin B or amphotericin B lipid complex, or by recommendation of Infectious Diseases Division consult.
  • Because bioreductive drugs are activated to form highly effective cytotoxins under hypoxic conditions, they can be used to inactivate hypoxic tumor cells that are refractory to the direct cytotoxicity of hypericin-PDT.
  • Thus far, these patients have proved relatively refractory to potential therapies interfering with individual molecules.
2.2 Medicine , rare (Of a person or animal) resistant to infection: turkeys can be infected when young but are refractory as adults
More example sentences
  • However, this first requires expression of Nef in a resting T cell that is refractory to infection.
  • The propagative stages of the nematode occur exclusively in adult male crickets; thus adult females crickets are refractory to infection.
2.3 technical (Of a substance) resistant to heat; hard to melt or fuse: refractory materials found in lunar samples
More example sentences
  • Such refractory materials as silicon dioxide and aluminum oxide are so severely attacked that their use is hazardous.
  • Some compounds of hafnium are also used as refractory substances to line the inside of high-temperature ovens.
  • Also under investigation as possible container materials are certain types of refractory ceramics.

noun (plural refractories)

A substance that is resistant to heat.
Example sentences
  • All three minerals alter to shimmer aggregates of sericite; all three are used in the preparation of refractories.
  • From the point of view of catastrophic fracture, the most important and interesting of the nonferrous metals are the BCC refractories, high strength aluminum alloys and the HCP metals, magnesium, beryllium, and titanium.
  • Oxides are formed by direct oxidation in air, by reaction with water vapor, or by aluminothermic reaction with oxides of other metals, such as iron or silicon, contained in tools and refractories.



Pronunciation: /rɪˈfrakt(ə)rɪnəs/
Example sentences
  • In addition to disease refractoriness, rare instances of disease progression from chronic phase to blast crisis during imatinib therapy have recently been anecdotally reported.
  • But medications can never be relational, much as patients sometimes attempt to have relationships with us through them, symbolically mediated by ‘side effects,’ paradoxical responses and refractoriness to treatment.
  • Some have suggested that they could be used to spread desirable genes, such as refractoriness to Plasmodium infection, through target populations of Anopheles gambiae, thereby disabling the mosquito's ability to transmit malaria.


Early 17th century: alteration of obsolete refractary, from Latin refractarius 'stubborn' (see also refract).

Words that rhyme with refractory

factory, manufactory, olfactory, phylactery, satisfactory

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: re|frac¦tory

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