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

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web 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 The story seemed to clarify so much that was mysterious about her own identity — the unnameable gaps in her family history that shaped her life in their very absence, the way a sinkhole in the road distorts the path of traffic blocks away. New York Times, 20 Oct. 2021 Several as-yet unnameable university endowments and longtime VC-backing foundations are investors in the debut fund, Basu Trivedi says. Alex Konrad, Forbes, 15 Apr. 2021 But the course of the hunt itself is unnameable and uncontrollable, like coition. Roberto Calasso, Harper's Magazine, 30 Mar. 2020 For many readers, Ferrante’s Naples — its sentiments and social dynamics, its unrepentant naming of the previously unnameable — has made the world feel smaller. Washington Post, 28 Jan. 2020 Her work scratched the magic of that unnameable place that aches & buoys the soul. Globe Correspondent, BostonGlobe.com, 9 Aug. 2019 In his early forties, and mired in an unnameable sadness, Rousseau turns to painting. María Gainza, Harper's magazine, 10 May 2019 See More

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

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 4 Dec. 2022.

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