I'm a writing a letter that goes:

Your correspondent John Smith is correct that exercise has its costs, both in terms of cost of food and cost of equipment and gym memberships. However, to argue that it's therefore not worthwhile, is pig-in-the-mud [stubborn].

stupid would be a pretty good word, but it's rude and alienates the subject.

stubborn doesn't cover that it's an unintelligent action.

It's not ignorant because the information is available.

  • ... is to [ignore/discount] its benefits which far outweigh the costs. But what does the cost of food have to do with exercise? And who says you need a gym membership or expensive equipment in order to exercise? – Jim Oct 14 '14 at 1:27
  • @Jim - The guy was arguing that the cost of protein powder, fresh fruit etc, is too much. Regarding benefits outweighing the costs, that's the next sentence. I'm looking for an adjective here. – dwjohnston Oct 14 '14 at 1:29
  • Protein powder and fresh fruit have nothing to do with exercise. I think you need a new noun. – Jim Oct 14 '14 at 1:30
  • How about specious? Although that would be rude and alienating as well. – Jim Oct 14 '14 at 1:33
  • If it were I, I would stick with something less abrasive, especially if the interlocutor is a potential customer. The strongest word I might use here is wrong: to argue that is wrong. As @Jim suggested, specious is better. You are modifying argument or argue: an argument is not stubborn or ignorant. You can say that an argument is stupid (though that really is not correct), but again, don't do that if you want to persuade the person to exercise etc. ;-) – Drew Oct 14 '14 at 3:05

'bloody-minded'--describes someone who makes things difficult for others and opposes their views for no good reason. (Cambridge Dictionary)

  • That's a good one, thank you. Question is, would it be published in a newspaper? – dwjohnston Oct 14 '14 at 4:33
  • 2
    This sense is chiefly British. – ermanen Oct 14 '14 at 4:45
  • 1
    Everything 'bloody' is British. – Mazura Jan 31 '15 at 5:04

Obstinate - perversely adhering to an opinion, purpose, or course in spite of reason, arguments, or persuasion .

  • Hello, Mikish. This looks like a quote, which is good. But if it is, it needs attributing. – Edwin Ashworth Sep 30 '15 at 23:46

Ignorant is used in this sense also for someone who intentionally ignores. You can consider ignoramus as a noun.

The word ignorant is an adjective describing a person in the state of being unaware and is often used as an insult to describe individuals who deliberately ignore or disregard important information or facts. Ignoramus is commonly used in the US, the UK, and Ireland as a term for someone who is willfully ignorant. Ignorance is distinguished from stupidity, although both can lead to "unwise" acts.


Another term that might fit is willful, which can be used for someone who is stubbornly ignorant even he or she is aware of the consequences.

Having or showing a stubborn and determined intention to do as one wants, regardless of the consequences or effects


There are synonyms of willful like headstrong and self-willed but they are closer to stubbornness than ignorance. There seems to be a fine line between stubbornness and ignorance.

Note: The blank in your example is better filled with a noun. So in this case, ignorance or willfulness would fit.

wilfullness (n) a steadfast adherence to an opinion, purpose, or course of action in spite of reason, arguments, or persuasion

her unceasing willfulness eventually wore down her critics and opponents


Alright, if you want a strong word but not as derogatory as stupid, you can consider bullheaded for the person, and bullheadedness for the blank in your example.

bullheaded (adj) not willing to change an opinion, plan, etc. : very stubborn in a foolish or annoying way


  • 2
    Someone is being ignorant of the answer :) – ermanen Oct 14 '14 at 4:35
  • In much of the USA, you'd be far more likely to hear muleheaded than bullheaded, and the former would be more readily understood. – Mark Thompson Jan 31 '15 at 8:02

You can use the adjective adamant.

Refusing to be persuaded or to change one's mind (Google dictionary); impervious to pleas, appeals, or reason; stubbornly unyielding. AHDEL

Of course, it doesn't show the stupidity, but it certainly shows a willfully ignorant nature, and justifies the purpose.

  • There's lots of spelling mistakes in this answer, do you mind fixing them? – dwjohnston Oct 14 '14 at 4:42
  • 1
    @dwjohnston - For you, anything. {sarc} Really, this person went to the effort of trying to help you (I presume). Where is the love? – anongoodnurse Oct 14 '14 at 5:04

This word is probably more in use in the USA Southern Midlands dialect, but I'd say ornery is just about the perfect word for this concept. For instance, for someone who is arguing just because they like to argue, or because they started and don't want to stop, you could say they are "just being ornery".

The only thing that kind of spoils it is that this term is often used half-affectionately, so you'd have to change the tone of your sentence a bit. That might be for the best though. No need to be more confrontational than you have to be.


To argue that it's therefore not worthwhile would be imprudent.

im·pru·dent, adjective \ -dənt\

not wise or sensible; not prudent; lacking discretion, wisdom, or good judgment -MW

Calling someone's decision imprudent is a nice way of saying that's a stupidly bad idea.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.