unnameable

adjective

un·​name·​able ˌən-ˈnā-mə-bəl How to pronounce unnameable (audio)
variants or less commonly unnamable
: not worthy or capable to be given a name or identified by name : not nameable
an unnameable quality
… that unnamable and unmistakable terror was in her eyes …Jack London
He [Jim Morrison] had the unnameable thing that people will always be drawn to.Marilyn Manson

Examples of unnameable in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web And the unnameable beauty of not knowing how any of it works. Devin Kelly, Longreads, 7 Mar. 2024 Out of the silence, the sisters would produce shelves of books between them—consumed with naming the unnameable, with writing into the dark. Parul Sehgal, The New Yorker, 14 Aug. 2023 They’re not meant to be as simple girlfriends, but ever since Rei killed Nanae’s abusive boyfriend as a gesture of compassion, there’s been an unnameable charge between the two women greater than friendship and short of love. Charles Bramesco, Vulture, 20 Apr. 2021 Much of the story is about this dichotomy: the unnameable mystery and our attempts to codify it in language and superstition. Cressida Leyshon, The New Yorker, 26 Dec. 2022 Confederates reaches for and catches different, unnameable things. Helen Shaw, Vulture, 28 Mar. 2022 Together, the two lovers found the answer to that unnameable desire: home. Jari and Sómr are inspired by two developers: Sam Handrick and Jake Snipes. Laken Brooks, Forbes, 18 Dec. 2022 Sesame seed paste, on the other hand, fortifies a soup with mellow, unnameable notes of earthiness rather than overpowering it with potency or sweetness. Mehreen Karim, Bon Appétit, 1 Mar. 2022 At the university that day, unnameable emotions abounded. Sarah Larson, The New Yorker, 25 Oct. 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'unnameable.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1610, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of unnameable was in 1610

Dictionary Entries Near unnameable

Cite this Entry

“Unnameable.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unnameable. Accessed 19 Apr. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!