un·​think·​able ˌən-ˈthiŋ-kə-bəl How to pronounce unthinkable (audio)
: not capable of being grasped by the mind
: being contrary to what is reasonable, desirable, or probable : being out of the question
unthinkability noun
unthinkably 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 Coachella’s identity is synonymous with the grounds of the Empire Polo Club; Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas would be unthinkable anywhere but the Nevada desert. Philip Sherburne, Pitchfork, 13 Sep. 2023 The idea of mocking them to their faces would have been unthinkable. Mitch Albom, Detroit Free Press, 10 Sep. 2023 In the meantime, ordinary American families are already experiencing shortages that would have been unthinkable in 2006. Wade Davis, Rolling Stone, 3 Sep. 2023 So instead of staying home, consider another, perhaps equally unthinkable, proposal: traveling without posting to social media. Natalia Molina, Los Angeles Times, 29 Aug. 2023 The rising discontent, especially among the younger generation, has seen previously unthinkable shows of dissent – including mass protests in 2020 demanding reform of the monarchy. Helen Regan, CNN, 22 Aug. 2023 This reach, previously unthinkable for MLS, illustrates the extent to which Messi’s presence is a boon for media partners and advertisers alike. Paolo Confino, Fortune, 21 Aug. 2023 In a development that would have been unthinkable a few years ago, there are now four Mongolian men who are competitive enough to race at events like the world championships. Scott Cacciola, New York Times, 26 Aug. 2023 Rich recognizes the major obstacles to reforming the UN but suggests that growing crises and dangers make failure to reform the institution even more unthinkable. Roland Rich, Foreign Affairs, 22 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'unthinkable.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near unthinkable

Cite this Entry

“Unthinkable.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unthinkable. Accessed 1 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


un·​think·​able ˌən-ˈthiŋ-kə-bəl How to pronounce unthinkable (audio)
: not to be thought of or considered as possible
unthinkable cruelty

More from Merriam-Webster on unthinkable

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