inimitable

adjective
in·​im·​i·​ta·​ble | \(ˌ)i-ˈni-mə-tə-bəl \

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 \ 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

What is about Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, who celebrate their 32nd birthday today, that makes them so heart-stoppingly inimitable, inspiring countless Instagram accounts devoted to their every stylish step? Zoe Ruffner, Vogue, "What Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen Can Teach You About the Right Nude Lipstick Shade," 13 June 2018 Pair that with one of the studio's best characters, food critic Anton Ego (voiced by the inimitable Peter O’Toole), and this is a big-budget movie that manages to feel as intimate as a Parisian dinner. Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY, "The definitive ranking of all 20 Pixar movies (including 'Incredibles 2')," 13 June 2018 Every Vogue editor remembers their first AWOK, the little acronym (short for Anna Wintour Okay) scrawled on each print page by our inimitable editor in chief. Monica Kim, Vogue, "This Is the Ultimate Fashion Sneaker: Air Jordans, Inspired by Anna Wintour," 12 July 2018 Every Vogue editor remembers their first AWOK, the little acronym (short for Anna Wintour Okay) scrawled on each print page by our inimitable editor in chief. Emilia Petrarca, The Cut, "We Regret to Inform You That Anna Wintour Is Now a Hypebeast," 12 July 2018 And in an interesting way, too: by putting a jumbo body on the company’s inimitable small-car mechanicals. Dan Neil, WSJ, "2019 Subaru Ascent: A Bigger, Better Family SUV," 12 July 2018 In his inimitable fashion, Musk started tossing out fresh ideas for ways to free the boys, chatting with his followers. Wendy Dent, WIRED, "The Engineering Behind Elon Musk's Bid to Save Thailand's Cave Boys," 11 July 2018 Craft Wine and Beer is an inimitable imbibing experience, where provocative and often obscure wine, beer, cider and sake bottles from around the country and world can be consumed there or taken to go. Natasha Bourlin, SFChronicle.com, "Increasingly hip Midtown Reno has a glow that’s not from neon," 29 June 2018 Self-Extinguishing Emission, out on local label Scrapes Recordings (brainchild of the inimitable Alex Barnett), is a full-scale plunge into cruelty and intimacy via the magical interplay of rhythm and droning noise. Leor Galil, Chicago Reader, "Alexa Viscius of Bunny on a bass-playing hero who makes perfect posters," 27 June 2018

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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Last Updated

20 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for inimitable

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

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More Definitions for inimitable

inimitable

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of inimitable

: impossible to copy or imitate

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