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

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 The Esplanade’s vastness is best appreciated via a tour offering a peek beneath its famous domes, some perspective on its inimitable design and the chance to experience the sublime acoustics in the Concert Hall. Robyn Eckhardt, WSJ, "Two Strategic Days in Singapore: Where to Splurge, Where to Save," 4 Jan. 2019 The memoir is also the number-one seller in a host of European countries, from Britain to Spain, proving that Mrs. Obama’s inimitable charm is even recognized across the pond. Tess Garcia, Teen Vogue, "Michelle Obama's Memoir "Becoming" Is Already the Best-Selling Hardcover Book of 2018," 1 Dec. 2018 Plus, the reveal video forgoes music, so there's no telling whether original composer Yoko Kanno will return with her inimitable noir-jazz chops. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Netflix’s anime announcement frenzy, capped off by live-action Cowboy Bebop," 28 Nov. 2018 Just heard another great storyteller, the inimitable Nicolas Roeg left us today. Vogue, "The Man Who Fell to Earth," 24 Nov. 2018 Here some other ways to use the inimitable flavor of homemade horseradish. The Editors, Good Housekeeping, "How to Grow and Prepare Horseradish Straight From Your Garden," 27 July 2018 But for the final day of the royal tour, Meghan opted for two incredible designers—Givenchy and Stella McCartney—both of whom designed inimitable wedding day looks for the Duchess. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle Enlists Her Two Wedding Dress Designers for Her Final Royal Tour Looks," 31 Oct. 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

8 Feb 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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