Hat tip to Robyn Bradshaw for nominating this fancy way of saying “obstinately disobedient; uncooperative, refractory; objecting to constraint or restriction.” That’s the OED’s first definition for a word that comes to us from smack-dab in the Age of Reason, with a first recorded use of 1797.
In terms of our current campus debate, a refusal to listen to petitions, votes, and common 21st Century sense marks that recalcitrance of one side or both, depending upon your perspective.
I side with our Black students, so my bias should be clear as to who is not listening to reason. Yet the word proves a useful alternative to ones such as “stubborn,” “close-minded,” “pompous,” “megalomaniacal,” “arrogant,” “disdainful,” “disrespectful,” even “self-righteous.”
There are other rude synonyms I will skip, as I’m fond of the Age of Reason and fonder still of being politic about these matters. What I say aloud and in private are of little concern here.
As always, please send us words and metaphors useful in academic writing by e-mailing me (jessid -at- richmond -dot- edu) or leaving a comment below.
Recalcitrant dude in suit courtesy of Pixabay.