unthinkable

adjective
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 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 While many families and educators are trying to pick up the pieces after last week's unthinkable tragedy, Schimmoeller encourages people to focus on the good that surrounds us and continue to have these difficult conversations. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, "Students' Active Shooter Plan for Teacher in Wheelchair Will Bring You to Tears," 23 Feb. 2018 Such consensus, unthinkable today, also stemmed from the existing political dynamics. Lee Drutman, New Republic, "Learning to Trust Again," 23 Feb. 2018 Even so elementary a move as recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, or cutting funding to chronically anti-Western and anti-Semitic organizations, became unthinkable. Yoram Hazony, National Review, "Trump in the Middle East: Note Who Curses America, and Who Blesses It," 23 Jan. 2018 Chimpanzees have such instant hostility that play between communities would be unthinkable. John Hawks, WSJ, "‘The Goodness Paradox’ Review: The Benefits of Good Breeding," 25 Jan. 2019 And even in some kind of unthinkable, scorched-earth scenario where suddenly no cable company or over-the-top streaming service wants to pay AT&T’s price for HBO and Game of Thrones, that’s fine, too. Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge, "AT&T and Dish’s HBO battle is the bleak future of cable and streaming," 2 Nov. 2018 In their less guarded moments, officials in charge of this country’s disaster programs have begun to acknowledge the previously unthinkable: Sometimes the only effective way to protect people from climate change is to give up. Christopher Flavelle, Bloomberg.com, "America’s Last-Ditch Climate Strategy of Retreat Isn’t Going So Well," 2 May 2018 Leaving home without it, even in the age of no-makeup-makeup, is simply unthinkable. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "5 New Black Mascaras You Need in Your Life This Fall," 17 Aug. 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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Last Updated

13 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for unthinkable

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

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More Definitions for unthinkable

unthinkable

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of unthinkable

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

unthinkable

adjective
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

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