im·​pos·​si·​ble | \ (ˌ)im-ˈpä-sə-bəl How to pronounce impossible (audio) \

Definition of impossible

1a : incapable of being or of occurring
b : felt to be incapable of being done, attained, or fulfilled : insuperably difficult an impossible deadline
2a : extremely undesirable : unacceptable
b : extremely awkward or difficult to deal with the actor was impossible on the set

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Other Words from impossible

impossibleness noun

Examples of impossible in a Sentence

It's impossible to predict the future. The heavy rain made it impossible to see the road. It's physically impossible for a child to lift that much at once. It's virtually impossible to book a flight just before the holiday. These math problems are impossible! You refuse to help and then criticize me for not doing it right? You're impossible! My boss is just an impossible woman.
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Recent Examples on the Web Ranking all the seasons is sort of an impossible undertaking, since the dynamics and cast are always shifting. Elizabeth Logan, Glamour, "Every Season of Grey’s Anatomy, Ranked," 24 Apr. 2020 Calculating an accurate daily tally of fatalities in this pandemic is almost impossible because of delays in reporting deaths and deaths of people not in the care of medical staff. Jason Douglas, WSJ, "Daily Coronavirus Death Counts Lowball Fatalities but Are Critical for Scientists," 21 Apr. 2020 In most rich countries and almost all poor ones, cells are overcrowded, people come and go frequently, and effective social distancing is all but impossible. The Economist, "Prisons worldwide risk becoming incubators of covid-19," 20 Apr. 2020 The creatures have a fondness of taking their leave of the Earth by rolling several thousand feet into places that are almost impossible to get in and out of, or by taking a swan dive that breaks off a horn, or a combination of the two. David E. Petzal, Field & Stream, "Seven Big-Game Animals You Need to Drop Quickly," 9 Apr. 2020 Many of those parties have described that process as nearly impossible, since tours are usually set months in advance. Ben Sisario, New York Times, "Live Nation Closes Gap in Refund Policy after Fan Complaints," 25 Apr. 2020 Finding a public restroom is almost impossible, especially downtown. oregonlive, "Portland Commissioner Position 1 candidates explain their plan to help the city recover from the coronavirus pandemic," 24 Apr. 2020 But social distancing will be impossible for a lot of factories without huge, expensive renovations or massive reductions in the workforce on duty. Dan Mclaughlin, National Review, "Reopening the Economy Will Require Lawsuit Protection," 22 Apr. 2020 So as for my father sharing his story with the producers, that part at least would have been impossible. Robin Antalek, Longreads, "The Bigamist’s Daughter," 22 Apr. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'impossible.' 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 impossible

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for impossible

Middle English, from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French, from Latin impossibilis, from in- + possibilis possible

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Time Traveler for impossible

Time Traveler

The first known use of impossible was in the 14th century

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Statistics for impossible

Last Updated

12 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Impossible.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2020.

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How to pronounce impossible (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of impossible

: unable to be done or to happen : not possible
: very difficult
of a person : very difficult to deal with : very irritating or annoying


im·​pos·​si·​ble | \ im-ˈpä-sə-bəl How to pronounce impossible (audio) \

Kids Definition of impossible

1 : incapable of being or of occurring : not possible The noise makes it impossible to concentrate.
2 : very difficult These math problems are impossible!
3 : very bad or unpleasant She is impossible to deal with.

Other Words from impossible

impossibly \ -​blē \ adverb



Legal Definition of impossible

: not possible : incapable of being done, attained, or fulfilled a party's performance is impossible in part

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