in·​su·​per·​a·​ble | \ (ˌ)in-ˈsü-p(ə-)rə-bəl How to pronounce insuperable (audio) \

Definition of insuperable

: incapable of being surmounted, overcome, passed over, or solved insuperable difficulties

Other Words from insuperable

insuperably \ (ˌ)in-​ˈsü-​p(ə-​)rə-​blē How to pronounce insuperable (audio) \ adverb

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Insuperable first appeared in print in the 14th century, and as a close synonym to insurmountable, it still means now approximately what it did then. In Latin, superare means "to go over, surmount, overcome, or excel." (The sur- in surmount is related to the Latin prefix super-.) The Latin word insuperabilis, from which insuperable is derived, was formed by combining the negative prefix in- with superare plus abilis ("able"). Hence, insuperabilis means "unable to be surmounted, overcome, or passed over," or more simply, "insurmountable." The word can describe physical barriers that cannot be scaled (such as walls or mountains) as well as more figurative challenges, obstacles, or difficulties.

Examples of insuperable in a Sentence

the building project ran into insuperable financial difficulties and had to be scrapped insuperable problems have arisen which make it very unlikely that we will ever finish this project
Recent Examples on the Web This extension of rights, Stone argued, was needed to address an otherwise insuperable problem. Elizabeth Kolbert, The New Yorker, 11 Apr. 2022 Policy-makers are faced with an almost insuperable task of curbing inflationary pressures while attempting to entice real economic growth. Edwin T. Burton, National Review, 8 Feb. 2022 That means that Biden and the anti-Trump cause face a potentially insuperable challenge. Damon Linker, The Week, 15 Oct. 2021 While the Roy spawn can never fully sideline their emotions to make decisions—their daddy issues and professional ambitions an insuperable murky swirl—Gerri is a clear-eyed, cool-headed outsider among insiders. Jessica M. Goldstein, Marie Claire, 9 Nov. 2021 The practical obstacles are insuperable, and the likely effects would be very unwelcome to its proponents. Rich Lowry, National Review, 8 Oct. 2021 By then, two decades of performing, recording and touring had created smoldering, insuperable tensions within rock’s most celebrated brother act. Chris Morris, Variety, 22 Aug. 2021 By then, two decades of performing, recording and touring had created smoldering, insuperable tensions within rock’s most celebrated brother act. Chris Morris,, 22 Aug. 2021 Her white competitors had an insuperable advantage, Powell writes. Judith Thurman, The New Yorker, 22 Mar. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'insuperable.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of insuperable

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for insuperable

Middle English, from Latin insuperabilis, from in- + superare to surmount, from super over — more at over

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Last Updated

14 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Insuperable.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 2022.

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Nglish: Translation of insuperable for Spanish Speakers


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