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

Keep scrolling for more

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 But in season 5, while fighting her for the role of Fanny Brice, Santana laid claim to the song in her own inimitable way, infusing it with pop runs and vocalizations. Maureen Lee Lenker,, "Naya Rivera's best moments on Glee," 13 July 2020 Lee, in his inimitable way, is prodding his audience to pay attention and realize that, even as history marches on, the same battles are still being fought. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Da 5 Bloods Is the Most Ambitious Film Spike Lee Has Ever Made," 12 June 2020 The tales would have faded but for Dobie’s inimitable storytelling voice. Andrew Dansby,, "The 30 most essential books about Texas," 31 May 2020 Though this is a highly specific period piece, Shirley’s claustrophobia resonates loudly in 2020, especially because Decker renders it with inimitable panache. David Sims, The Atlantic, "An Unconventional Biopic About a Horror Master," 8 June 2020 And sitting at the helm of this groundbreaking movie was a Jewish female studio head, Avis Amberg (played by the inimitable Patti LuPone). Candice Frederick, Harper's BAZAAR, "Janet Mock and Ryan Murphy Take Us Through Their Manifesto for Hollywood," 1 May 2020 This breezy and conversational show between The New York Times’ inimitable culture critic Wesley Morris and Jenna Wortham, a staff writer at New York Times Magazine, is always interesting and each episode unfolds in new and interesting ways. oregonlive, "45 podcasts to pass the time and (maybe) make you smarter during isolation," 29 Apr. 2020 But Washington’s quaintness is no replacement for what made the Bay Area so inimitable to her. Annie Vainshtein,, "Coronavirus prompts some residents to leave Bay Area," 26 Apr. 2020 At the apex of a corner, as the driver starts to roll into the throttle, the response from the engine is gloriously progressive and inimitable. John Pearley Huffman, Car and Driver, "2020 Audi S6 Is Less and More Than the S7," 8 Apr. 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about inimitable

Time Traveler for inimitable

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Listen to Our Podcast about inimitable

Statistics for inimitable

Last Updated

17 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Inimitable.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Aug. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for inimitable


How to pronounce inimitable (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of inimitable

: impossible to copy or imitate

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on inimitable

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt painting a young scholar and his tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!