in·​im·​i·​ta·​ble (ˌ)i-ˈni-mə-tə-bəl How to pronounce inimitable (audio)
: not capable of being imitated : matchless
her own inimitable style
inimitableness noun
inimitably adverb

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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 English enemyinimīcus.

Examples of inimitable in a Sentence

an inimitable performer of violin solos
Recent Examples on the Web There is endless evidence for this, but an example that always sticks with me is one given by the inimitable Sheryl Sandberg in her book Lean In. Anya Meyerowitz, Glamour, 9 Apr. 2024 Getty Images Most Popular Legendary artists including Picasso and Matisse famously drew inspiration from the French Riviera, citing the inimitable light and the spectacular front-row views of the Mediterranean. Amy Louise Bailey, Vogue, 2 Apr. 2024 His inimitable touch keeps us connected to every part of the view. Sebastian Smee, Washington Post, 27 Mar. 2024 This will change market-by-market but, suffice to say, Green Chartreuse is inimitable. Jason O'Bryan, Robb Report, 16 Mar. 2024 The essence of the inimitable country icon has been funneled into a darling new figurine, complete with a glittering orange bodysuit and bold blue eyeshadow. Melissa Epifano,, 9 Mar. 2024 Engrossing, inimitable and surpassingly vivid, every work in this show (which is rich in Rajput and Deccan as well as Mughal painting) rewards prolonged attention. Sebastian Smee, Washington Post, 23 Feb. 2024 Missing from the schedule was the inimitable Feben, who’s showing her collection in Milan with the support of Dolce & Gabbana. Sarah Mower, Vogue, 20 Feb. 2024 The inimitable Cher is set to receive the 2024 iHeartRadio Icon Award at the 2024 iHeartRadio Music Awards on Monday April 1. Paul Grein, Billboard, 4 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'inimitable.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

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


Dictionary Entries Near inimitable

Cite this Entry

“Inimitable.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


in·​im·​i·​ta·​ble (ˈ)in-ˈim-ət-ə-bəl How to pronounce inimitable (audio)
: not capable of being imitated : matchless
her own inimitable style

More from Merriam-Webster on inimitable

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