Friday, 23 November 2012

Entry: intractable (adj.)

In context: "The D.E.A. had lost four field researchers and a consultant before they'd bowed to the intractable problems involved in trying to have somebody view the confiscated Tempe cartridge and articulate the thing's lethal charms."

Definition: Of things: Not to be manipulated, wrought, or brought into any desired condition; not easily treated or dealt with; resisting treatment or effort.

and

Of persons and animals: Not to be guided; not manageable or docile; uncontrollable; refractory, stubborn.

Other: Wonderful word!

A bit of a strange usage, this appears not under Of persons and animals, but as part of Of things, though I guess a tooth is hardly an animal:

1607   E. Topsell Hist. Fovre-footed Beastes 193   The teeth of those Elephants..are so smooth and harde, as they seeme intractable.

SNOOT score: 3

Page: 549

Source: Oxford English Dictionary

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