un·ru·ly (n-rl) KEY
Middle English unreuli : un-, not ; see un-1 + reuli, easy to govern (from reule, rule; see rule)
unruly, intractable, refractory, recalcitrant, headstrong, wayward
These adjectives mean resistant or marked by resistance to control. Unruly implies failure to submit to rule or discipline: unruly behavior in class. Intractable and refractory refer to what is obstinate and difficult to manage or control: "the intractable ferocity of his captive" (Edgar Allan Poe). "The idea of ecclesiastical authority ... woke all the refractory nerves of opposition inherited from five generations of Puritans" (Harriet Beecher Stowe). One that is recalcitrant rebels against authority: arrested the recalcitrant protestors. Headstrong describe one obstinately bent on having his or her own way: The headstrong senator ignored his constituency. One who is wayward willfully and often perversely departs from what is desired, advised, expected, or required: "a lively child, who had been spoilt and indulged, and therefore was sometimes wayward" (Charlotte Brontë).