: incapable of being surmounted, overcome, passed over, or solved
Did You Know?
Insuperable first appeared in print in the 14th century, and as a close synonym to insurmountable, it still means now approximately what it did then. In Latin, superare means "to go over, surmount, overcome, or excel." (The sur- in surmount is related to the Latin prefix super-.) The Latin word insuperabilis, from which insuperable is derived, was formed by combining the negative prefix in- with superare plus abilis ("able"). Hence, insuperabilis means "unable to be surmounted, overcome, or passed over," or more simply, "insurmountable." The word can describe physical barriers that cannot be scaled (such as walls or mountains) as well as more figurative challenges, obstacles, or difficulties.
Though it had appeared that the visiting team had an insuperable lead, the home team rallied to win in the end.
"'Life and Fate,' his resulting magnum opus, is not likely to be unseated as the greatest Second World War novel ever written. Grossman's challenge over the ten years of its composition seems nearly insuperable: to evoke the scope and magnitude of the conflict without turning his characters into cogs in a vast military machine." — Sam Sacks, The New Yorker, 25 June 2013
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Name That Antonym
Unscramble the letters to create an antonym of insuperable: EVILNBIC.VIEW THE ANSWER
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