im·​pass·​able | \ (ˌ)im-ˈpa-sə-bəl How to pronounce impassable (audio) \
variants: or less commonly

Definition of impassable

: incapable of being passed, traveled, crossed, or surmounted

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Other Words from impassable

impassability \ (ˌ)im-​ˌpa-​sə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce impassability (audio) \ noun
impassableness \ (ˌ)im-​ˈpa-​sə-​bəl-​nəs How to pronounce impassableness (audio) \ noun
impassably \ (ˌ)im-​ˈpa-​sə-​blē How to pronounce impassably (audio) \ adverb

Examples of impassable in a Sentence

The roads were made impassable by the flood. the road was impassable until snowplows cleared it

Recent Examples on the Web

But since then, heavy rains have caused flood waters to rise inside, cutting off the team’s only route to escape and making the way virtually impassable for rescuers. Richard C. Paddock,, "Thailand cave rescue effort to continue, prime minister tells families," 29 June 2018 Heavy rain has left parts of Egypt impassable after the deluge of water flooded streets and damaged property. Washington Post, "Heavy rains pummel Cairo and parts of Egypt," 25 Apr. 2018 The rainy season hits during these lean months, too, turning many roads into rivers of impassable mud. Megan Specia And Kassie Bracken, New York Times, "In South Sudan, a Never-Ending Hunger Season Puts Millions in Danger," 30 May 2018 The Arctic has become a markedly more contentious military and commercial environment as the changing climate has led to greater ice melt in the summer, opening more navigable waterways and leading to greater sea traffic in once-impassable lanes. Ben Kesling, WSJ, "Cold War Games: U.S. Is Preparing to Test the Waters in Icy Arctic," 11 Jan. 2019 But if those fail and the highway becomes impassable, residents in numerous neighborhoods will be stranded. Denise Laitinen, USA TODAY, "Hawaii volcano leaves escape routes in doubt," 25 May 2018 Emergency crews continued Thursday to rescue residents, at times by helicopter, from some of Montecito’s still-impassable neighborhoods. Washington Post, "‘Evacuation fatigue’ caused some to ignore peril of mudslides," 7 Mar. 2018 Storm drains will probably back up, and large puddles will make some roadways impassable. Greg Porter, Washington Post, "PM Update: Heavy rain with localized flooding persists through the evening. Gorgeous weather on Monday.," 3 June 2018 Residents of Houston, Texas, have been asked not to leave their homes, as flooding caused by hurricane Harvey has made roads impassable. David Taylor, Houston Chronicle, "High-water rescue vehicles delivered to Liberty County in time for hurricane season," 17 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'impassable.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of impassable

1562, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for impassable

Last Updated

8 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for impassable

The first known use of impassable was in 1562

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More Definitions for impassable



English Language Learners Definition of impassable

: impossible to pass, cross, or travel over


im·​pass·​able | \ im-ˈpa-sə-bəl\

Kids Definition of impassable

: impossible to pass, cross, or travel … the forest road … led to impassable marshes where the paths had long been lost.— J. R. R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

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More from Merriam-Webster on impassable

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with impassable

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for impassable

Spanish Central: Translation of impassable

Nglish: Translation of impassable for Spanish Speakers

Comments on impassable

What made you want to look up impassable? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a strong desire or propensity

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