impossibility

noun im·pos·si·bil·i·ty \ (ˌ)im-ˌpä-sə-ˈbi-lə-tē \
Updated on: 15 Nov 2017

Definition of impossibility

1 :the quality or state of being impossible
2 :something impossible

Examples of impossibility in a Sentence

  1. The blizzard made travel an impossibility.

  2. the impossibility of knowing what the future will bring

Recent Examples of impossibility from the Web

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

First Known Use of impossibility

14th century


IMPOSSIBILITY Defined for English Language Learners

impossibility

noun

Definition of impossibility for English Language Learners

  • : something that is impossible : something that cannot be done or that cannot happen

  • : the quality or state of being impossible


IMPOSSIBILITY Defined for Kids

impossibility

noun im·pos·si·bil·i·ty \ im-ˌpä-sə-ˈbi-lə-tē \

Definition of impossibility for Students

plural impossibilities
1 :something that cannot be done or occur
  • Time travel is an impossibility.
2 :the quality or state of being impossible

Law Dictionary

impossibility

noun im·pos·si·bil·i·ty

legal Definition of impossibility

plural impossibilities
1 :the quality or state of being impossible; also :the affirmative defense that something (as performance) is impossible
2 :something impossible
3 :impossibility of performance in this entry
factual impossibility
:impossibility based on factual circumstances; specifically :a partial defense to criminal liability based on the incompletion of an intended criminal act
Note: Factual impossibility is not a complete defense and does allow prosecution for attempt or for another inchoate offense. For example, if the defendant constructed a bomb that failed to explode, factual impossibility would be a defense against murder charges, but not attempted murder.
impossibility of performance
1 :a doctrine in contract law that a party may be released from liability for breach of contract for failing to perform an obligation that is rendered impossible by uncontrollable circumstances (as death or failure of the means of delivery)
2 :a defense to breach of contract or a basis for release from contractual obligations because of impossibility of performance — compare frustration, impracticability
legal impossibility
:impossibility based on or with reference to a law; specifically :a complete defense to criminal liability based on the commitment of acts that are not criminal or illegal
Note: Legal impossibility is founded on the principle that an act is not a crime unless there is a law prohibiting it.


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