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 Banning all travel to foreign nationals adds to a series of restrictive measures that would have been unthinkable in Western democracies only a few weeks ago. Bloomberg.com, "Australia Curbs Travel; U.S. Cases in 50 States: Virus Update," 10 May 2020 For all of its pleasures and joys — and there are many — the world is a place of unthinkable suffering. John Hirschauer, National Review, "A God Who Suffers," 10 Apr. 2020 Events like the coronavirus epidemic, and its predecessors—such as SARS, Ebola and MERS—test our systems and force us to think about the unthinkable. Walter Russell Mead, WSJ, "China Is the Real Sick Man of Asia," 3 Feb. 2020 First, Alabama Republican Party chairwoman Terry Lathan took issue with me defending Doug Jones for the unthinkable in Alabama — waiting to hear facts before taking a position on presidential impeachment. al, "How many free passes does the GOP have to give?," 18 Oct. 2019 Luck’s decision borders on the unthinkable for so many of those in and around the sport. Mark Maske, The Denver Post, "Today’s NFL is all about pampering QBs, but it didn’t work with Andrew Luck and the Colts," 25 Aug. 2019 Our brother and his family are going through the unthinkable with the loss of their youngest boy. Rachel Desantis, PEOPLE.com, "Dierks Bentley Dedicates Song, Florida Georgia Line Offers Prayers for Granger Smith's Late Son," 10 June 2019 As schools and legislators struggled to come to terms with the unthinkable, one teacher in Muskegon, Michigan, thought to make a traditional Native American dreamcatcher to catch Columbine's bad dreams after its collective nightmare. Scott Mclean And Rachel Clarke, CNN, "A dreamcatcher's journey reveals hope, change and frustration after 19 years of school shootings," 23 Mar. 2018 Conversely, there are some missions that may seem unusual -- unthinkable, even -- that National Guard members are sadly all too prepared to handle. Aj Willingham, CNN, "How does the National Guard keep people safe during a pandemic? By cleaning, sewing and packing," 22 Apr. 2020

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

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Last Updated

21 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Unthinkable.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unthinkable. Accessed 29 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for unthinkable


How to pronounce unthinkable (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for unthinkable

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with unthinkable

Spanish Central: Translation of unthinkable

Nglish: Translation of unthinkable for Spanish Speakers

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