in·​de·​fen·​si·​ble | \ ˌin-di-ˈfen(t)-sə-bəl How to pronounce indefensible (audio) \

Definition of indefensible

1a : incapable of being maintained as right or valid : untenable
b : incapable of being justified or excused : inexcusable indefensible comments
2 : incapable of being protected against physical attack

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Other Words from indefensible

indefensibility \ ˌin-​di-​ˌfen(t)-​sə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce indefensibility (audio) \ noun
indefensibly \ ˌin-​di-​ˈfen(t)-​sə-​blē How to pronounce indefensibly (audio) \ adverb

Examples of indefensible in a Sentence

The company adopted an indefensible position on the issue. His behavior is ethically indefensible. The city is in an indefensible location.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Mr Epstein’s original defence team included Alan Dershowitz and Kenn Starr, two lawyers skilled in defending the indefensible. The Economist, "Was Jeffrey Epstein’s plea deal fishy?," 13 July 2019 Shoddy work by unqualified volunteers is indefensible, but criticism that declares all volunteering bad ignores a more nuanced truth. Ken Budd, National Geographic, "Does voluntourism help? Here are the questions to ask before you go," 27 June 2019 The falling faces, the slack mouths, the groans and the fingertips pressed to their creased foreheads, as their legal position became ever more indefensible. Sally Jenkins,, "The US women’s national team is an American treasure. Pay them a bounty.," 12 June 2019 On Thursday at New York City FC, the game was not competitive and the performance was indefensible. Patrick Brennan,, "Takeaways: In FC Cincinnati's own words + player ratings from the NYC FC loss in MLS," 7 June 2019 This is indefensible to Senate Republicans who have stood by Trump, with varying degrees of sincerity and enthusiasm, through one crisis or another. Jamie Hancock, Dallas News, "Red light cameras' fate, Abbott's denial, Ted Cruz on Mexico tariffs, Robert E. Lee statue sold," 6 June 2019 Defending the indefensible is part of the job of working for Trump, of course, and it isn’t restricted to trade policy. John Cassidy, The New Yorker, "Trump’s Top Economist Makes a Timely Exit," 4 June 2019 To be clear, throwing something at any performer onstage is straight-up disrespectful and indefensible—no matter what the intention. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Not OK: Someone Threw a Lemon at Ariana Grande During Her Coachella Set Last Night," 22 Apr. 2019 The Democrats did this on purpose to try to muddy the waters, and to defend the indefensible. Fox News, "Media malign Trump Europe trip," 15 July 2018

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

1529, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Statistics for indefensible

Last Updated

16 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for indefensible

The first known use of indefensible was in 1529

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More Definitions for indefensible



English Language Learners Definition of indefensible

: not able to be thought of as good or acceptable
: not able to be kept safe from damage or harm


in·​de·​fen·​si·​ble | \ ˌin-di-ˈfen-sə-bəl How to pronounce indefensible (audio) \

Kids Definition of indefensible

: impossible to defend Your rudeness is indefensible.

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More from Merriam-Webster on indefensible

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with indefensible

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for indefensible

Spanish Central: Translation of indefensible

Nglish: Translation of indefensible for Spanish Speakers

Comments on indefensible

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


something desired as essential

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