un·​speak·​able | \ ˌən-ˈspē-kə-bəl How to pronounce unspeakable (audio) \

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 How to pronounce unspeakably (audio) \ 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 The past decade brought Arizona unspeakable tragedy with the shooting of a Congresswoman and wildfires that set records for acreage burned and lives lost. Ryan Randazzo, azcentral, "These 20 Arizona stories from 2010 to 2020 captured our attention as they shocked, divided and united us," 27 Dec. 2019 Ragnow left his workout immediately and made the 10-hour drive back to Minnesota to help the Hed family get through their unspeakable tragedy. Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press, "My Cause, My Cleats: Lions players wear their hearts on their shoes in name of fundraising," 7 Dec. 2019 After that shooting, Hebb went downstairs to find Doughty inflicting unspeakable horror on O’Connor, officials said. BostonGlobe.com, "Two life sentences for man convicted of double slaying in Peabody - The Boston Globe," 1 Oct. 2019 Luke's exile Luke agrees to train Leia and Han’s son in the ways of the Force, but his fear over Ben turning to the Dark Side prompts an unspeakable act: Luke tries to kill Ben in his sleep, but the padawan stops him. Nick Romano, EW.com, "'A long time ago': A Star Wars timeline," 6 Dec. 2019 That's why Seventeen designed an edition specifically for all of your most unspeakable queries. Alison Caporimo, Seventeen, "Seventeen's New Embarrassing Questions Issue Is Here To Save Your Life," 12 Nov. 2019 That's really the girl who bullied her, and there's a creepy masked Surgeon (Ian Roberts) standing by to inflict unspeakable torments. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Guests get more than they bargained for in trailer for Fantasy Island reboot," 11 Nov. 2019 Nick, a British native, was leaving his home in London for a business trip in Houston, while Diane was returning to her native Texas after a family vacation in the U.K. Then unspeakable tragedy struck. Nick Maslow, PEOPLE.com, "Husband and Wife Who Met While Stranded Because of 9/11 Reveal the Lesson of Their Love Story," 11 Sep. 2019 Since the beginning of this case, our hearts have been with the families of the 36 victims that died in this unspeakable tragedy. Megan Cassidy, SFChronicle.com, "Ghost Ship trial: Max Harris walks out of jail after acquittal; Derick Almena remains jailed after mistrial in his case," 5 Sep. 2019

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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Time Traveler for unspeakable

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for unspeakable

Last Updated

7 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Unspeakable.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unspeakable. Accessed 20 January 2020.

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More Definitions for unspeakable


How to pronounce unspeakable (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of unspeakable

: very bad or evil
: impossible to describe in words


un·​speak·​able | \ ˌən-ˈspē-kə-bəl How to pronounce unspeakable (audio) \

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

Comments on unspeakable

What made you want to look up unspeakable? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


not to be intimidated or subdued

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