That’s the Word for It: Obstreperous


The word obstreperous comes from ob– which means in the way plus strepere, a verb that means to make a noise or to rebel against something. So the adjective works well especially with unruly children, politicians, rebel groups and certain kinds of families.

It’s fun to see the way this word is used in books:

“He’s got a wife,” I said. “Quite a nice wife, and two obstreperous children—boys.”
― Agatha Christie, The Clocks

“In an age of increasingly mechanized production, the genesis of scientific knowledge remains an unyieldingly, obstreperously hand-hewn process. It is among the most human of our activities. Far from being subsumed by the dehumanizing effects of technology, science remains our last stand against it.”
― Siddhartha Mukherjee, The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2013


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