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alteration of refractary, from Latin refractarius, irregular from refragari to oppose, from re- + -fragari (as in suffragari to support with one's vote)


  • 1: resisting control or authority : stubborn, unmanageable
  • 2a : resistant to treatment or cure <a refractory lesion>
b : unresponsive to stimulus
c : immune, insusceptible <after recovery they were refractory to infection>


A refractory material is one that retains its strength at high temperatures. ASTM C71 defines refractories as "non-metallic materials having those chemical and physical properties that make them applicable for structures, or as components of systems, that are exposed to environments above 1,000 °F (811 K; 538 °C)".

Refractory materials are used in linings for furnaces, kilns, incinerators and reactors. They are also used to make crucibles.[1]