adverb or adjective

in·​com·​mu·​ni·​ca·​do ˌin-kə-ˌmyü-nə-ˈkä-(ˌ)dō How to pronounce incommunicado (audio)
: 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 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 examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'incommunicado.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1844, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of incommunicado was in 1844


Dictionary Entries Near incommunicado

Cite this Entry

“Incommunicado.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


adverb or adjective
in·​com·​mu·​ni·​ca·​do ˌin-kə-ˌmyü-nə-ˈkäd-ō How to pronounce incommunicado (audio)
: without being able to communicate with others
a prisoner held incommunicado

More from Merriam-Webster on incommunicado

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