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

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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

The auto maker said Friday that the vehicles may have a flaw that prevents the brake-light switch from working properly, which could render the brake lights inoperable and even prevent the engine from starting. Mike Colias, WSJ, "Subaru Recalls Cars to Fix Glitch Possibly Caused by Fabric Softener," 1 Mar. 2019 Pushing through the vast expanse of space at 31,500 MPH (50,700 KMH), even the tiniest unexpected ice or dust particle could render the piano-sized craft inoperable. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "New Horizons Will Spend New Years Exploring Ultima Thule, a Billion Miles Past Pluto," 19 Dec. 2018 According to the news outlet, she was born with health conditions including an inoperable cyst on her brain, severe scoliosis, and cerebral palsy. Megan Stein, Country Living, "See the Incredible Moment Keith Urban Made a Dying Fan's Last Wish Come True," 20 Oct. 2018 Since his tumor is inoperable, Taliq has been receiving radiation treatments and taking 16 medications. Emily Dabau, Good Housekeeping, "Texas Mom Is Asking for Birthday Cards for Her Son Battling Cancer," 17 July 2015 Will there be highways cluttered with thousands of inoperable vehicles? WSJ, "Mr. Nader Misses the Mark on Driverless Cars," 30 Aug. 2018 Many gas stations were inoperable either because of quake damage or from people stealing fuel, national disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said in Jakarta. Niniek Karmini, The Seattle Times, "Aid slowly is tricking to Indonesian disaster-hit areas," 2 Oct. 2018 At the time, Nugroho said that the buoys were inoperable due to either vandalism or lack of funds for maintenance. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Indonesia's Tsunami Warning System Hasn't Been Operational Since 2012," 1 Oct. 2018 Hill, 19, gained national recognition when, after being diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor in high school, had the chance to fulfill her dream of playing a college basketball game. Paulina Dedaj, Fox News, "Lauren Hill to be inducted into Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame 3 years after brain cancer death," 9 Aug. 2018

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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Statistics for inoperable

Last Updated

15 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for inoperable

The first known use of inoperable was in 1886

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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 inoperability (audio) \ noun, plural -ties

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Comments on inoperable

What made you want to look up inoperable? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


an act or instance of returning to life

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