un·​think·​able | \ ˌən-ˈthiŋ-kə-bəl How to pronounce unthinkable (audio) \

Definition of unthinkable

1 : not capable of being grasped by the mind
2 : being contrary to what is reasonable, desirable, or probable : being out of the question

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Other Words from unthinkable

unthinkability \ ˌən-​ˌthiŋ-​kə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce unthinkability (audio) \ noun
unthinkably \ ˌən-​ˈthiŋ-​kə-​blē How to pronounce unthinkably (audio) \ adverb

Examples of unthinkable in a Sentence

to most people it seemed unthinkable that such a gentle man could be guilty of such awful crimes

Recent Examples on the Web

The scale of this problem is unthinkable—there are at this moment 700 million women alive who were married as children. Darren Walker, Town & Country, "Princess Mabel of the Netherlands Has Devoted Herself to Ending the Scourge of Child Marriage," 17 Jan. 2017 Such a movie would have been unthinkable in the years after Sept. 11. Jake Coyle, Detroit Free Press, "Review: ‘Skyscraper’ delivers stunts, dumb summer fun," 12 July 2018 But even such a step remains unthinkable in a political world in which Paul Ryan acts exactly like a man who views the president of the United States as his boss. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Paul Ryan Unaware Constitution Lets Congress Override Presidential Veto," 12 July 2018 Accomplishes feats routinely that are unthinkable for most players. Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY, "NBA MVP: Does James Harden or LeBron James have the better case?," 10 Apr. 2018 The crowd, which included families from as far away as Argentina and Ukraine, would have once been unthinkable for Vowell and his congregation. Robert Downen, Houston Chronicle, "‘Hope’ becomes theme during Seder," 31 Mar. 2018 The strategy makes everyone involved—especially America’s enemies—squarely confront the unthinkable, making a nuclear war too terrible to contemplate, let alone start. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Does America Still Need the Nuclear Triad?," 23 Jan. 2019 Then, the unthinkable: The family’s sport utility vehicle plunged off a 100-foot cliff in Northern California and was discovered on Monday — upside down, engulfed by the waves of the Pacific Ocean. Matt Stevens And Louis Lucero Ii, BostonGlobe.com, "Family’s SUV plunges off cliff, and death toll feared to be 8," 30 Mar. 2018 The mattress company’s rise illustrates the current staying power of digital direct-to-consumer brands, but this year Casper also tested the limits of retail by selling the unthinkable: sleep itself. Chavie Lieber, Vox, "A breakdown of this year’s brand winners and losers.," 27 Dec. 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for unthinkable

Last Updated

24 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for unthinkable

The first known use of unthinkable was in the 15th century

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English Language Learners Definition of unthinkable

: impossible to imagine or believe : too bad or shocking to be thought of


un·​think·​able | \ ˌən-ˈthiŋ-kə-bəl How to pronounce unthinkable (audio) \

Kids Definition of unthinkable

: not to be thought of or considered as possible or reasonable “Impossible!” cried Mr. Wonka. “Unthinkable! … He could never be made into marshmallows!”— Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

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More from Merriam-Webster on unthinkable

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with unthinkable

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for unthinkable

Spanish Central: Translation of unthinkable

Nglish: Translation of unthinkable for Spanish Speakers

Comments on unthinkable

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


something valued as if it were money

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