“The farmer thought that he could easily control the small ox; however, the ox was so recalcitrant he proved impossible to manage.”

Based on the sentence above, which definition most accurately describes recalcitrant?

Check your answer!

Choice A - Lazy and unwilling to exercise
Choice B - Eager to please authority
Choice C - Disobedient or hard to direct
Choice D - Too heavy to be moved


Recalcitrant (adjective) – disobedient, or hard to manage; resistant to control

Recalcitrance (noun) – stubborn resistance to control or guidance; refusal to comply

GRE pro tips:

Recalcitrant is a very challenging GRE word. To better remember what it means, think of the similar sounding word: calcified. Something that is calcified (like a joint) is hard to move or control. Similarly, it’s hard hard to move or control a recalcitrant individual, such as a stubborn ox. Think: “he may as well be calcified, he’s so recalcitrant.”

Example sentences:

“He was intelligent, but he was recalcitrant to discipline and formal schooling.”

“The young farmer could not handle the recalcitrant ox.”