ungovernable

adjective
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 Hundreds of thousands have died in Syria, while Libya after the fall of Moammar Gadhafi is an ungovernable, dangerous mess. David Crary, The Denver Post, "Protests in the long term: How is a lasting legacy cemented?," 3 Aug. 2020 Hundreds of thousands have died in Syria, while Libya after the fall of Moammar Gadhafi is an ungovernable, dangerous mess. David Crary, The Denver Post, "Protests in the long term: How is a lasting legacy cemented?," 3 Aug. 2020 Hundreds of thousands have died in Syria, while Libya after the fall of Moammar Gadhafi is an ungovernable, dangerous mess. David Crary, The Denver Post, "Protests in the long term: How is a lasting legacy cemented?," 3 Aug. 2020 Hundreds of thousands have died in Syria, while Libya after the fall of Moammar Gadhafi is an ungovernable, dangerous mess. David Crary, Star Tribune, "Protests in the long term: How is a lasting legacy cemented?," 2 Aug. 2020 Hundreds of thousands have died in Syria, while Libya after the fall of Moammar Gadhafi is an ungovernable, dangerous mess. oregonlive, "How does a protest movement secure lasting change? History offers clues," 2 Aug. 2020 But some maintain that, at its core, the platform is ungovernable, and that not enough has changed in time for November. Aarian Marshall, Wired, "The Two Faces of Facebook's Election Plans," 22 June 2020 The insurgency has left many parts of the north of the country ungovernable and killed hundreds. Kwasi Gyamfi Asiedu, Quartz Africa, "Four government ministers have contracted coronavirus in Burkina Faso and it’s spreading rapidly," 22 Mar. 2020 Anyone wondering how sclerotic and ungovernable California has become need look no further than the failure last week of an incredibly modest attempt to reform the state’s archaic housing regulations. Michael Tanner, National Review, "California Needs Housing — and Won’t Get It," 5 Feb. 2020

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

Time Traveler

The first known use of ungovernable was in 1673

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Statistics for ungovernable

Last Updated

13 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ungovernable.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ungovernable. Accessed 20 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for ungovernable

ungovernable

adjective
How to pronounce ungovernable (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of ungovernable

formal
: impossible to govern
: impossible to control

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