: not capable of being imitated : matchless
Did You Know?
Something that is inimitable is, literally, not able to be imitated. In actual usage the word describes things so uniquely extraordinary as to not be copied or equaled, which is why you often hear it used to praise outstanding talents or performances. (The antonym imitable describes things that are common or ordinary and could easily be replicated or surpassed.) Inimitable derives via Middle English from Latin inimitabilis. Be careful not to confuse it with inimical or inimicable, two adjectives meaning "hostile" or "harmful"; those words derive from the same Latin root that gave English enemy—inimīcus.
"Both writers were inimitable even as they were widely imitated.… Barthelme's particular brilliance was so original, so sui generis, despite its tutelage at the feet of pages by Joyce, Beckett, and Stein, that even his own brothers Frederick and Steven, also fiction writers of intelligence and style, wrote more like Carver." — Lorrie Moore, The New York Review of Books, 26 Mar. 2009
"There aren't that many beauty and fashion icons who can captivate fans for a span of decades, but Miss Piggy is surely one of them. To celebrate her inimitable look, she now has her very own makeup collection, a collaboration between Disney and Ciaté London." — Celia Shatzman, Variety, 2 Nov. 2020
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