un·speak·able | \ ˌən-ˈspē-kə-bəl \

Definition of unspeakable 

1a : incapable of being expressed in words : unutterable

b : inexpressibly bad : horrendous unspeakable living conditions unspeakable evil

2 : that may not or cannot be spoken the bawdy thoughts that come into one's head — the unspeakable words —L. P. Smith unspeakable collections of consonants —Rosemary Jellis

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Other words from unspeakable

unspeakably \ˌən-ˈspē-kə-blē \ 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

Detective Ralph Anderson is ready to send Maitland to death row for his unspeakable crimes. Karin Slaughter, Philly.com, "Stephen King's 'The Outsider': A thrill ride from an American classic writer," 1 June 2018 Detective Ralph Anderson is ready to send Maitland to death row for his unspeakable crimes. Karin Slaughter, chicagotribune.com, "What Stephen King gets right - and wrong - in 'The Outsider'," 23 May 2018 If combating that unspeakable evil — by securing a vote on legislation to reassert congressional authority over tariffs — required blocking the president’s judicial appointments, so be it. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "Jeff Flake Flakes, Says He Won’t Block Trump’s Supreme Court Pick," 28 June 2018 The assumption, dropped amid the cheerful stories of burgeoning careers and domestic scenes of stressful sweetness, that there is hidden unspeakable violence in the world, provides the pivot for the play. Chloe Schama, Vogue, "Theater Can Be Dishearteningly Inaccessible. Carey Mulligan’s Devastating New Play Is Changing That.," 27 June 2018 In Syria and Iraq, the unspeakable acts of Islamic State were proportional to the speed of the terror group’s collapse. Mark Sappenfield, The Christian Science Monitor, "Nigeria’s schoolgirl rebellion," 26 June 2018 The day after the unspeakable tragedy that was the Pulse Nightclub Shooting in Orlando. Meghan Trainor, Billboard, "Meghan Trainor: Love Letter to the LGBTQ Community," 11 June 2018 Before becoming an outspoken pillar of Philly’s sizable Liberian community, Woewiyu allegedly played an integral part in stoking ethnic tensions that led to unspeakable violence. Aubrey Nagle, Philly.com, "Schools buy war-zone trauma kits, Trump-Kim summit recap | Morning Newsletter," 12 June 2018 Edwards wasn’t arrested and indicted by a federal grand jury until 2016 but is now facing up to 20 years in prison for his unspeakable actions. Essence.com, "White Manager Pleads Guilty To Enslaving Black Mentally Disabled Worker," 7 June 2018

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

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

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Last Updated

19 Aug 2018

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Time Traveler for unspeakable

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

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English Language Learners Definition of unspeakable

: very bad or evil

: impossible to describe in words


un·speak·able | \ ˌən-ˈspē-kə-bəl \

Kids Definition of unspeakable

1 : impossible to express in words unspeakable beauty

2 : extremely bad unspeakable conduct

Other words from unspeakable

unspeakably \-blē \ adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on unspeakable

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for unspeakable

Spanish Central: Translation of unspeakable

Nglish: Translation of unspeakable for Spanish Speakers

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