un·​speak·​able ˌən-ˈspē-kə-bəl How to pronounce unspeakable (audio)
: incapable of being expressed in words : unutterable
: inexpressibly bad : horrendous
unspeakable living conditions
unspeakable evil
: that may not or cannot be spoken
the bawdy thoughts that come into one's head—the unspeakable wordsL. P. Smith
unspeakable collections of consonantsRosemary Jellis
unspeakably adverb

Examples of unspeakable in a Sentence

the unspeakable horror of war continually encountered unspeakable beauty in their travels through the Alps
Recent Examples on the Web There are unspeakable new developments in our world. Deborah Treisman, The New Yorker, 27 Nov. 2023 Distraught dad Thomas Hand’s unspeakable torment turned to joy on Saturday when his daughter, Emily, was one of 13 Israeli hostages freed by Hamas. Kerry J. Byrne Fox News, Fox News, 26 Nov. 2023 This version, from producer Winfrey, stars Fantasia Barrino as Celie, a Black woman in early 20th century Georgia who finds hope despite unspeakable hardship. Eric Andersson, Peoplemag, 19 Nov. 2023 His father is bent over, white head in his hands, his mother is covering her face; the shadowing of their dark clothes merges them into a single mountain of unspeakable grief. Katie Roiphe, WSJ, 10 Nov. 2023 The sentiment was understandable: Hamas’s unspeakable brutality in massacring some 1,400 Israelis, including women and children and the elderly, much of it gleefully captured on video, recalled the savagery and bloodlust of ISIS at its height. Cole Bunzel, Foreign Affairs, 2 Nov. 2023 Hamas and Iran inflicted unspeakable evil on Israel last week. The Editors, National Review, 13 Oct. 2023 Tinashe discussed her latest album, her musical journey, and her dedication to using art as a tool for self-empowerment and translating the unspeakable. Brittney Nanton, Essence, 10 Oct. 2023 Covey’s journey is undeniably a dramatic one, spanning decades and continents and swinging between unspeakable sorrow and indescribable joy, and Black Cake moves through it at a brisk and businesslike clip. Angie Han, The Hollywood Reporter, 27 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'unspeakable.' 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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of unspeakable was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near unspeakable

Cite this Entry

“Unspeakable.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unspeakable. Accessed 6 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


un·​speak·​able ˌən-ˈspē-kə-bəl How to pronounce unspeakable (audio)
: impossible to express in words
unspeakable beauty of the sunset
: extremely bad
unspeakable conduct
unspeakably adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on unspeakable

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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