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

Thirty years later, June 4, 1989, remains the most unspeakable date in modern Chinese history. Jiayang Fan, The New Yorker, "Memories of Tiananmen Square," 4 June 2019 Casey Affleck stars as a man paralyzed by an unspeakable trauma, who has to step up and take care of his teenage nephew after the sudden death of his brother. Emma Dibdin And Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "16 Amazon Prime Video Movies to Stream on Your Next Lazy Night In," 21 May 2019 An act of unspeakable hate had unfolded in New Zealand – a country of peace. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Prince William Gave a Moving Speech at Christchurch's Al Noor Mosque. Here's the Full Transcript.," 26 Apr. 2019 He had been seared by unspeakable tragedy when his parents were murdered before his eyes. Wilson Ring, The Seattle Times, "Batman fan Sen. Patrick Leahy writes comic book’s foreword," 30 Mar. 2019 The suffering on both sides is unspeakable because the peace process is deadlocked. Washington Post, "Eritrea sending delegation to rival Ethiopia for peace talks," 20 June 2018 This is an unspeakable act of evil that should have never occurred and never occurred on American soil. Fox News, "Jay Sekulow: Mueller investigation needs to end 'very soon'," 9 Aug. 2018 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 Each and every one of them led to unspeakable suffering for children, families and entire communities. Washington Post, "UN: 1 in 4 children live in country of conflict or disaster," 11 July 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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Statistics for unspeakable

Last Updated

10 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for unspeakable

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

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More Definitions for unspeakable



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).


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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