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 Without emergency support, critical medications spoiled without refrigeration, or essential medical equipment became inoperable. Ellen Mcgirt, Fortune, "Racism is a public health problem," 9 Apr. 2021 Jefferson put Brown in the back seat and drove from the scene only to crash again sometime around 3 a.m. near N. 17th and Bryant avenues, leaving the vehicle inoperable. Paul Walsh, Star Tribune, "Jurors convict man who fatally hit girlfriend with car on Minneapolis sidewalk," 4 Feb. 2021 Then phone lines were flooded by seniors and became inoperable. George Skelton, Los Angeles Times, "Column: Come on, government. It shouldn’t be this hard getting COVID-19 vaccine into people’s arms," 25 Jan. 2021 Low gravity and crazy temperature swings would make traditional guns inoperable in space. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Astronauts Really Could Carry M16s on the Moon," 31 Mar. 2021 Examples include an inoperable air conditioner or heater and broken sewer and water supply lines. Teri Webster, Dallas News, "Here’s how to get help paying for winter storm damage repairs in Plano," 1 Mar. 2021 This is the same activity that would take place if a conventional car was otherwise inoperable. Lance Eliot, Forbes, "Convincing A Self-Driving Car To Go Where You Want It To Go When It Won’t Go There," 27 Feb. 2021 In northeastern Illinois, more water has been drained from the aquifers than is replenished, causing water levels to drop to depths where costs and complications may render wells inoperable. Morgan Greene,, "50 miles away from one of the largest freshwater systems on Earth, why is groundwater running out in northeastern Illinois?," 26 Feb. 2021 One problem: The winter storm has left millions of hungry Texans without power, rendering blenders inoperable. Washington Post, "Salsa made with a drill, and more: TikTok offers glimpses of life during the Texas storm," 18 Feb. 2021

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

22 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Inoperable.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for inoperable



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 inoperable (audio) \ noun, plural inoperabilities

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