interminable

adjective

in·​ter·​mi·​na·​ble (ˌ)in-ˈtər-mə-nə-bəl How to pronounce interminable (audio)
-ˈtərm-nə-
: having or seeming to have no end
especially : wearisomely protracted
an interminable sermon
interminableness noun
interminably adverb

Did you know?

We promise not to ramble on endlessly about the origins of interminable. The word was borrowed into English in the 15th century and descends from a Latin combination of the prefix in- ("not") and the verb terminare, meaning "to terminate" or "to limit." The word describes not only something without an actual end (or no end in sight, such as "interminable oceans"), but also events, such as tedious lectures, that drag on in such a way that they give no clear indication of ever wrapping up. Other relatives of interminable in English include terminate, determine, terminal, and exterminate.

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web As for lap swims, etc., children often don’t organize fundraisers; adults do — adults who may agree with you but were overruled at some interminable fundraising meeting back in September. Carolyn Hax, Washington Post, 11 Nov. 2022 The worst instance came late in the first half when, after an interminable replay review to check a targeting call, Utah had to take its second timeout in the middle of a drive to avoid a 10-second runoff. Josh Newman, The Salt Lake Tribune, 16 Oct. 2022 The uphill feels interminable, with each turn revealing an impossible new climb, until the maddening endlessness of it all borders on the supernatural. Peter Hartlaub, San Francisco Chronicle, 1 Nov. 2022 The big thing to me that sometimes makes college football games feel interminable is when the clock stops on a first down and doesn’t restart until the referee spots the ball and signals that play can resume. Josh Newman, The Salt Lake Tribune, 22 Sep. 2022 The film features one of the most famous cinematic sequences in film history, in which a camera seamlessly tracks along an interminable traffic jam. Anna Tingley, Variety, 14 Sep. 2022 His first novel, The Queue, takes the form of a transcript of the dialogue between unnamed Soviet citizens, waiting in an interminable line. Aaron Timms, The New Republic, 2 Sep. 2022 Playing an interminable series of diminished fifths is hard enough for jazz guitarists without having to worry about feigning a sunny disposition. Joe Queenan, WSJ, 11 Aug. 2022 The players have names like Lefty Thorn and Hiroki Nomo, and the fictitious sports commentator Wally McCarthy narrates their progress through a gently interminable, pleasingly varied dance of strikes, balls, and hits. Katy Waldman, The New Yorker, 14 July 2022 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

Middle English, from Late Latin interminabilis, from Latin in- + terminare to terminate

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of interminable was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near interminable

Cite this Entry

“Interminable.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/interminable. Accessed 28 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition

interminable

adjective

in·​ter·​mi·​na·​ble (ˈ)in-ˈtərm-(ə-)nə-bəl How to pronounce interminable (audio)
: having or seeming to have no end
especially : tiresomely long
interminableness noun
interminably adverb
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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