in·​im·​i·​ta·​ble | \ (ˌ)i-ˈni-mə-tə-bəl How to pronounce inimitable (audio) \

Definition of inimitable

: not capable of being imitated : matchless her own inimitable style

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Other Words from inimitable

inimitableness noun
inimitably \ (ˌ)i-​ˈni-​mə-​tə-​blē How to pronounce inimitably (audio) \ adverb

How Should You Use inimitable?

Something that is inimitable is, literally, not able to be imitated. In actual usage the word describes things so uniquely extraordinary as to not be copied or equaled, which is why you often hear it used to praise outstanding talents or performances. (The antonym "imitable" describes things that are common or ordinary and could easily be replicated or surpassed.) Inimitable derives via Middle English from Latin inimitabilis. Be careful not to confuse it with "inimical" or "inimicable," two adjectives meaning hostile or harmful; those words derive from the same Latin root that gave us "enemy" ("inimicus").

Examples of inimitable in a Sentence

an inimitable performer of violin solos

Recent Examples on the Web

At a preview on Monday morning, the inimitable voices of everyone from Jean-Paul Gaultier to Judy Garland played as running commentary through the Costume Institute's normally serene galleries. Olivia Martin, Town & Country, "Why the 2019 Met Gala is Going to be More Over the Top Than Ever," 6 May 2019 All of us dreaming of a Mindy and B.J. coupling will have to keep swooning over their inimitable Instagram/Twitter banter (does Cookie Monster really have a wife?!), and rest easy knowing B.J. is one epic godfather. Blake Bakkila, Good Housekeeping, "Mindy Kaling Reveals She's So Close With B.J. Novak, He's Her Daughter's Godfather," 3 May 2019 The latter two co-produced the track, and Natalie Prass lent her inimitable voice to the recording. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Andy Jenkins Gets "Illuminated" in His Newest Music Video," 1 Oct. 2018 And now, her inimitable style is being honored with the Fashion Icon Award at the 2019 CFDA Awards in June. Lauren Alexis Fisher, Harper's BAZAAR, "Jennifer Lopez to Be Honored With the Fashion Icon Award at the 2019 CFDA Awards," 16 Apr. 2019 Few films are more instantly recognizable than Alfred Hitchcock’s 1959 North by Northwest, starring the inimitable Cary Grant as advertising executive Roger O.Thornhill. Scott Christian, WSJ, "Now You Can Wear Cary Grant’s ‘North by Northwest’ Sunglasses," 29 Mar. 2019 And as depicted in the trailer, the inimitable Fiona Shaw returns as MI6 operative Carolyn Martens, while Radio Times reports Kim Bodnia is back as Konstantin. Julie Kosin, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Killing Eve Season 2 Trailer Just Dropped and I Am Weak," 14 Feb. 2019 Abbey's Laura Carmichael is Harry's mistrustful aunt, Maggie Pole, and the inimitable Dame Harriet Walter plays Harry's steely grandmother, Margaret Beaufort. Julie Kosin, Harper's BAZAAR, "The First Teaser Trailer for," 25 Jan. 2019 In Morandi’s plain-spoken still lifes and flower paintings, forms occupy an inimitable realm. Lance Esplund, WSJ, "‘Metaphysical Masterpieces 1916-1920: Morandi, Sironi, and Carrà’ Review: Every Object’s Mysteries," 16 Jan. 2019

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

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for inimitable

Middle English, from Latin inimitabilis, from in- + imitabilis imitable

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Statistics for inimitable

Last Updated

17 May 2019

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Time Traveler for inimitable

The first known use of inimitable was in the 15th century

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English Language Learners Definition of inimitable

: impossible to copy or imitate

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using a distributed computer network

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