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

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Incommunicado ultimately comes from Latin but made its way into English via the Spanish incomunicado. 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."

Examples of incommunicado in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Most of those detained during and after the demonstrations are young people from the poorest corners of the country who have been held incommunicado, relatives say. Santiago Pérez, WSJ, 20 July 2021

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

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 23 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on incommunicado

Nglish: Translation of incommunicado for Spanish Speakers


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