Is there an idiom for the action when someone holds tightly onto his opinion? Like you keep to try convincing that person again and again but he keeps that opinion?

  • 4
    "Pig-headed" is probably the most common term.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Jan 28, 2015 at 13:55
  • 5
    "Bull-headed" is, I think, slightly less derogatory. Commented Jan 28, 2015 at 14:34
  • 1
    "Stiff-necked" is an idiom that might fit the bill.
    – fbrereto
    Commented Jan 28, 2015 at 16:52

12 Answers 12


"He/she dug his heels in"

is often used to convey a specific act of stubbornness or defiance.

Or, if it is specific to the fact the person seems unwilling to hear what you are saying:

"I tried to explain to them, but they are just tone deaf to my ideas"

(they are not really deaf; it is just a metaphorical way of saying that they refuse to listen).


Stubborn as a mule and obstinate as a mule may convey the idea:

  • Cliché very stubborn. (*Also: as ~.) I tried to convince Jake to go to the doctor, but he's as stubborn as a mule. For four years, Henry pestered his parents to let him learn the trumpet. They tried to talk him into some other, quieter instrument, but he was stubborn as a mule, and now he has a trumpet.
  • Thanks, but it's not about the person who is stubborn, rather on the action of stubbornness
    – Mansuro
    Commented Jan 28, 2015 at 9:37
  • You mean sort of 'to refuse to listen'?
    – user66974
    Commented Jan 28, 2015 at 9:39
  • Yes something like that
    – Mansuro
    Commented Jan 28, 2015 at 9:40
  • Wouldn't be stubborn or obstinate describe 'the action'?
    – user66974
    Commented Jan 28, 2015 at 9:42
  • No, stubborn describes the person itself, what I'm asking about is something that describe the act of stubborness
    – Mansuro
    Commented Jan 28, 2015 at 9:43

The phrase whim of iron has been used to describe a stubbornness that lacks a reasonable basis.

It i attributed to Oliver Herford (December 3, 1863 – July 5, 1935), an American humorous poet and illustrator. Wikiquote


A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest was introduced by singer/songwriter Paul Simon in 1969 in the song titled The Boxer. This phrase or some variation might meet your need.


"Stuck in his ways" is what I often use to describe someone inflexible and kind of adamant.


Would the word be: intransigency. As defined by MW:

characterized by refusal to compromise or to abandon an often extreme position or attitude : UNCOMPROMISING

See also Thesaurus.com.


Not sure if 'dogmatic' would suit your purpose. As a metaphor, people also use 'cockroaches' to ideas that would never go away and keep coming back.


For this concept, hard-headed is useful and fairly self-explanatory.


The Middle English version of stubborn carried the sense of “untamable, implacable,” and there’s still a hint of that in how it is used today.

Few suggestions: Unbend (verb) means 'to change from a bent position, to straighten', and also 'to relax from stress or severity'. By contrast, the adj. unbending normally means 'unyielding, inflexible;

  • Unbending- obstinate and stupid. (MW)
  • Inflexible- in the sense of not making concessions. (MW)

I suggest you use "headstrong" or "strong willed." Ideally, you want to refrain from the use of cliches or out of date metaphors. Also its not necessary to use "intransigency" when a common phrase is available.


I would go for closed-minded (or close-minded)

close-minded (comparative more close-minded, superlative most close-minded) unreceptive to new ideas or information; not open to any agreement.

If someone will not change their mind, no matter what, then you can call them closed-minded.


You can also use resistant or resistance depending on how you mean stubborn.

Lexico defines resistant:

Offering resistance to something or someone.

‘some of the old Churches are resistant to change’

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