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

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Other Words from insuperable

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

Did You Know?

Insuperable first appeared in print in the 14th century, and it still means now approximately what it did then. "Insuperable" is a close synonym to "insurmountable." In Latin, superare means "to go over, surmount, overcome, or excel." The Latin word insuperabilis was formed by combining the common prefix in- (meaning "not" or "un-") with "superare" plus "abilis" ("able"). Hence insuperabilis means "unable to be surmounted, overcome, or passed over," or more simply, "insurmountable." The word insuperabilis was later anglicized as "insuperable." Related words such as "superable," "superably," and even "superableness" have also found a place in English.

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 Since the election of Tony Blair’s media-savvy New Labour administration, in the late nineties, there has been a sort of manual that British politicians have followed when faced with an insuperable problem. Sam Knight, The New Yorker, "The Comforting and Misleading Political Response to Britain’s Coronavirus Disaster," 5 May 2020 My father was convinced that my deafness would be an insuperable obstacle. Mark Ellwood, Condé Nast Traveler, "When a Hotel Is Home: 10 Insiders on Living With Room Service," 14 May 2020 There is little doubt that the Russian cold poses a special set of problems, industry specialists say, although nothing is insuperable. Andrew E. Kramer,, "Too cold for an oil cut? Russia’s move reveals a long-running bluff," 4 May 2020 Obviously, her spirit was strong and love of life insuperable. Luis Valdez, Los Angeles Times, "Appreciation: A farewell to theater leader Diane Rodriguez, with love and tears, from Luis Valdez," 11 Apr. 2020 On his part, Jin completely stole the show with his body rolls and black tie 'fit, while Suga's striped Saint Laurent ensemble was simply insuperable. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "BTS with Lil Nas X for Teen Vogue's June Music Cover," 27 Jan. 2020 As long as there have been physicists, there have been physicists who worry their field has come up against an insuperable barrier. George Musser, Scientific American, "The Search for Truth in Physics," 25 Aug. 2019 None of this is to say that segregation is necessarily an insuperable obstacle to educational excellence. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "Democratic candidates’ school integration plans, explained," 3 July 2019 Mr Vala decided that the BJP should indeed have the first go at proving a majority in the state assembly, despite the apparently insuperable arithmetic. The Economist, "A series of reversals forces India’s newest chief minister from office," 19 May 2018

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.

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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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The first known use of insuperable was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

14 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Insuperable.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for insuperable


How to pronounce insuperable (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of insuperable

formal, of a problem, difficulty, etc. : impossible to solve or get control of : impossible to overcome

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More from Merriam-Webster on insuperable

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Spanish Central: Translation of insuperable

Nglish: Translation of insuperable for Spanish Speakers

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