adverb or adjective
in·​com·​mu·​ni·​ca·​do | \ ˌin-kə-ˌmyü-nə-ˈkä-(ˌ)dō How to pronounce incommunicado (audio) \

Definition of incommunicado

: without means of communication : in a situation or state not allowing communication a prisoner held incommunicado remained incommunicado while working on her book

Did You Know?

Incommunicado ultimately comes from Latin but made its way into English via Spanish. We borrowed the word (with a slightly modified spelling) from the past participle of the Spanish verb incomunicar, meaning "to deprive of communication." The Spanish word, in turn, derives from the Latin prefix in- and the verb communicare, meaning "to communicate."

First Known Use of incommunicado

1844, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for incommunicado

Spanish incomunicado, from past participle of incomunicar to deprive of communication, from in- (from Latin) + comunicar to communicate, from Latin communicare

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The first known use of incommunicado was in 1844

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Cite this Entry

“Incommunicado.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

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How to pronounce incommunicado (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of incommunicado

formal : not able to communicate with other people : in a situation or state that does not allow communication with other people

More from Merriam-Webster on incommunicado

Nglish: Translation of incommunicado for Spanish Speakers

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