un·​gov·​ern·​able | \ ˌən-ˈgə-vər-nə-bəl How to pronounce ungovernable (audio) \

Definition of ungovernable

: not capable of being governed, guided, or restrained

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Choose the Right Synonym for ungovernable

unruly, ungovernable, intractable, refractory, recalcitrant, willful, headstrong mean not submissive to government or control. unruly implies lack of discipline or incapacity for discipline and often connotes waywardness or turbulence of behavior. unruly children ungovernable implies either an escape from control or guidance or a state of being unsubdued and incapable of controlling oneself or being controlled by others. ungovernable rage intractable suggests stubborn resistance to guidance or control. intractable opponents of the hazardous-waste dump refractory stresses resistance to attempts to manage or to mold. special schools for refractory children recalcitrant suggests determined resistance to or defiance of authority. acts of sabotage by a recalcitrant populace willful implies an obstinate determination to have one's own way. a willful disregard for the rights of others headstrong suggests self-will impatient of restraint, advice, or suggestion. a headstrong young cavalry officer

Examples of ungovernable in a Sentence

The people there seemed almost ungovernable. a handful of ungovernable students are disrupting the learning environment for everyone else
Recent Examples on the Web New York is a tough town and has been deemed ungovernable at times. Time, 10 July 2021 But at the time the city was deemed by statehood opponents as ungovernable. CBS News, 4 July 2021 Whoever wins will face the daunting challenge of governing a place long ago called the ungovernable city, and facing some of the toughest times in decades. ABC News, 6 June 2021 Torres: The greatest obstacle to everything, including the permanent child tax credit, is the filibuster, which has rendered Washington, D.C., ungovernable. Marisa Schultz, Fox News, 16 Apr. 2021 The sky, its expanse, and the dark mystery beyond it are ungovernable. Gala Mukomolova, refinery29.com, 19 Apr. 2021 Floyd deserves a better memorial than this ungovernable brutality that is disgracefully hitting residents and businesses of color in the area the hardest. Star Tribune, 15 Mar. 2021 Claiming that the current version of the constitution has made Haiti ungovernable, Moïse wants to reform the statutes through a referendum in April. Edwidge Danticat, The New Yorker, 19 Feb. 2021 Draper previously said that the state had become ungovernable with high taxes, inadequate public services and not enough resources for its over 40 million residents. Roland Li, San Francisco Chronicle, 28 Jan. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ungovernable.' 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 ungovernable

1673, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for ungovernable

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The first known use of ungovernable was in 1673

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Last Updated

9 Aug 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ungovernable.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ungovernable. Accessed 17 Sep. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of ungovernable

: impossible to govern
: impossible to control


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