adjective un·gov·ern·able \-ˈgə-vər-nə-bəl\

: impossible to govern

: impossible to control

Full Definition of UNGOVERNABLE

:  not capable of being governed, guided, or restrained


  1. The people there seemed almost ungovernable.
  2. <a handful of ungovernable students are disrupting the learning environment for everyone else>

First Known Use of UNGOVERNABLE


Synonym Discussion of UNGOVERNABLE

unruly, ungovernable, intractable, refractory, recalcitrant, willful, headstrong mean not submissive to government or control. unruly implies lack of discipline or incapacity for discipline and often connotes waywardness or turbulence of behavior <unruly children>. ungovernable implies either an escape from control or guidance or a state of being unsubdued and incapable of controlling oneself or being controlled by others <ungovernable rage>. intractable suggests stubborn resistance to guidance or control <intractable opponents of the hazardous-waste dump>. refractory stresses resistance to attempts to manage or to mold <special schools for refractory children>. recalcitrant suggests determined resistance to or defiance of authority <acts of sabotage by a recalcitrant populace>. willful implies an obstinate determination to have one's own way <a willful disregard for the rights of others>. headstrong suggests self-will impatient of restraint, advice, or suggestion <a headstrong young cavalry officer>.


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