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 unspeakable (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 Voting rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer faced death threats, physical violence from law enforcement and unspeakable forms of harassment during the 1960s and 1970s. Peniel Joseph, CNN, "Ma'Khia Bryant's death on the day Chauvin was found guilty is a reminder that we have a long way to go," 21 Apr. 2021 All of us see the unspeakable horror of two human beings, two Black men, killed by law enforcement officers. John Kass, Star Tribune, "The whole world is watching Minnesota," 14 Apr. 2021 In many places, the cost of housing has gone from obscene to unspeakable, pricing out all but the rich or those fortunate enough to have purchased a home long ago. Los Angeles Times, "Column: The California exodus is a myth. But that doesn’t stop the haters," 8 Apr. 2021 Waited through unspeakable scandal and unfathomable rebirth. Kevin Sherrington, Dallas News, "Eighteen years after Scott Drew took over a program in shambles, Baylor has done the impossible, ended Texas’ title drought," 5 Apr. 2021 For all these years, Bucky was walking around, being forced to commit unspeakable acts. Abraham Riesman, Vulture, "The Story Behind Bucky’s Groundbreaking Comic-Book Reinvention As the Winter Soldier," 19 Mar. 2021 When tragedy strikes, Louis turns to his unusual neighbor, setting off a chain reaction that unleashes an unspeakable evil with horrific consequences. Los Angeles Times, "Movies on TV this week: ‘An American in Paris’; ‘Ben-Hur’," 26 Mar. 2021 And what unspeakable evil might lurk behind the three-foot-thick walls of the Robert C. Weaver Federal Building? Kelsey Ables, Washington Post, "Brutalist buildings aren’t unlovable. You’re looking at them wrong.," 25 Mar. 2021 But historians such as Dudden continually seek to verify it, producing knowledge of unspeakable horrors, through cycles of historical denial, political conflict, and diplomatic irresolution. Jeannie Suk Gersen, The New Yorker, "Seeking the True Story of the Comfort Women," 26 Feb. 2021

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

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Last Updated

27 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Unspeakable.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unspeakable. Accessed 7 May. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on unspeakable

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for unspeakable

Nglish: Translation of unspeakable for Spanish Speakers

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