Definition of refractory adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//rɪˈfræktəri//
    ; NAmE NAmE//rɪˈfræktəri//
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  1. 1(formal) (of a person) difficult to control; behaving badly
  2. 2(medical) (of a disease or medical condition) difficult to treat or cure
  3. Word Originearly 17th cent.: alteration of obsolete refractary, from Latin refractarius ‘stubborn’ (see also refract).
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: refractory