im·pos·si·ble | \ (ˌ)im-ˈpä-sə-bəl \

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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

In an industry built on eliminating human error, insiders have started to admit that building a flawless vehicle will be almost impossible. Aarian Marshall, WIRED, "Home From the Honeymoon, the Self-Driving Car Industry Faces Reality," 13 July 2018 Police said the rule is almost impossible to enforce, and added that people need to obey posted signs and only swim where it's allowed or supervised. Manoella Macedo, ajc, "Several drownings in same week raise water safety concerns," 9 July 2018 The film, while not easily forgotten, is almost impossible to digest. Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Eat Me': Film Review," 5 July 2018 Experts say attaining that goal is almost impossible since utilities are opting to scrap aging reactors rather than to invest in meeting tighter post-disaster safety standards. Mari Yamaguchi, The Seattle Times, "Japan OKs ambitious nuke energy goals, plutonium reuse plan," 3 July 2018 For Harley, which faces shrinking sales at home and reported net income of $594 million last year, cost increases of that magnitude are almost impossible to swallow. Eamon Barrett, Fortune, "Trump's trade war comes to Wisconsin," 30 June 2018 This reasoning seems almost impossible to square with the reasoning that the Supreme Court used two decades earlier. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Why a 40-year-old SCOTUS ruling against software patents still matters today," 21 June 2018 Powell said that’s impossible because Franklin is a male, and would fight with another male. Suzanne Baker, Naperville Sun, "Naperville couple finds their lost pet tortoise, rescues another," 5 June 2018 For residents who regularly circle blocks scouring for parking, the findings by data scientist Eric Scharnhorst seem almost impossible. Caitlin Mccabe,, "Philadelphia has 2,172,896 parking spaces. So how come you're still circling the block?," 12 July 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about impossible

Share impossible

Phrases Related to impossible

the impossible

Statistics for impossible

Last Updated

16 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for impossible

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for impossible



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 \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on impossible

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


by word of mouth

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Food Quiz

How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!