in·​op·​er·​a·​ble | \ (ˌ)in-ˈä-p(ə-)rə-bəl How to pronounce inoperable (audio) \

Definition of inoperable

1 : not treatable or remediable by surgery an inoperable brain tumor
2 : not functioning : inoperative

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Examples of inoperable in a Sentence

a patient with inoperable cancer The device makes the car inoperable when a key is not used to start it.
Recent Examples on the Web La Cañada Parks and Recreation commissioners are considering the fate of a fountain at Mayors’ Discovery Park that has been inoperable since 2014. Sara Cardine, La Cañada Valley Sun, "Long-dry Mayors’ Discovery Park fountain could be restored or repurposed," 19 Sep. 2019 The grenade in question has been confirmed by officials at Kubacak Elementary to be inoperable, dating back to WWII-era. Kara Quebedeaux, Houston Chronicle, "'I have a bomb': Santa Fe student brought inoperable hand grenade to school, SFISD responds," 17 Sep. 2019 Lauren Hill's inspirational battle November 2014: Hill, then a Mount St. Joseph University student and basketball player battled an inoperable brain tumor. Jason Hoffman,, "Decade in review: The 10 biggest Cincinnati collegiate/pro sports stories from the 2010s," 27 Dec. 2019 But in September 2015, Mari was diagnosed with an inoperable stomach tumor. Karina Bland, azcentral, "They made their own family of children who needed one. Now he carries on for both of them," 13 Dec. 2019 Then, in August, Benoit was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor, then Luke was diagnosed that October with Hodgkin's lymphoma. Lauren M. Johnson, CNN, "Three members of the same family are each battling a specific type of cancer," 5 Dec. 2019 The diagnosis was understandably difficult for the tight-knit family, but things only worsened in the past few months when doctors delivered the heartwrenching news in August that Benoit Desclefs had an inoperable tumor on his brain. Joelle Goldstein,, "3 Florida Family Members Are All Diagnosed with Different Types of Cancer: 'It's Hard to Process'," 5 Dec. 2019 Emma Mertens loved animals, especially dogs, and after the vivacious Hartland girl was diagnosed this year with an inoperable brain tumor, family friends began emailing her pictures of their pups. Meg Jones, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Terminally ill Hartland girl who received thousands of cards from dog owners dies," 17 Nov. 2019 The mother of two sons, ages 12 and 9, was forced to leave her job in July when her husband was told he had inoperable cancer. Christopher Tangney,, "Parents stricken by cancer seek Globe Santa’s aid," 10 Dec. 2019

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

1886, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for inoperable

probably from French inopérable

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Time Traveler for inoperable

Time Traveler

The first known use of inoperable was in 1886

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Statistics for inoperable

Last Updated

18 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Inoperable.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for inoperable


How to pronounce inoperable (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of inoperable

medical : not able to be corrected or removed by surgery
formal : not capable of being used


in·​op·​er·​a·​ble | \ (ˈ)in-ˈäp-(ə-)rə-bəl How to pronounce inoperable (audio) \

Medical Definition of inoperable

: not treatable or remediable by or suitable for surgery an advanced and inoperable cancer a developing cataract still inoperable

Other Words from inoperable

inoperability \ (ˌ)in-​ˌäp-​(ə-​)rə-​ˈbil-​ət-​ē How to pronounce inoperability (audio) \ noun, plural inoperabilities

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