Each week, Verywell explains a term from health, medicine, science, or technology.
How to say it: Intractable (in-track-ta-bull)
What it means: Not easy to fix, cure, or relieve.
Where it comes from: From Latin, intractabilis, "unmanagable"
Where you might see or hear it: If you have pain that does not get better when you take medicine or with other treatments, your doctor might refer to it as being "intractable" because the word means "not easy to relieve."
Some conditions, like epilepsy and migraines, are called intractable when the treatments that usually help do not work. For example, someone with intractable epilepsy may continue to have seizures because the treatment is not enough to stop them.
When you might want to use it: If you have an acute condition, like a gallbladder attack, you might be in a lot of pain that does not get better no matter what you do.
If you go to the emergency room, the provider you see might note that your pain is "intractable" because even when they give you medication, you still are hurting. In this case, you might not feel better until you have your gallbladder taken out.