im·​pass·​able (ˌ)im-ˈpa-sə-bəl How to pronounce impassable (audio)
variants or less commonly
: incapable of being passed, traveled, crossed, or surmounted
impassability noun
impassableness noun
impassably adverb

Examples of impassable in a Sentence

The roads were made impassable by the flood. the road was impassable until snowplows cleared it
Recent Examples on the Web Roads are impassable and communication networks are unreliable. Miriam Berger, Washington Post, 16 Mar. 2024 The only human access is along the Lost Coast Trail, a 24-mile beach trek that generally takes three days, requires a permit and is impassable during storms and high tides. Lisa M. Krieger, The Mercury News, 27 Feb. 2024 The city grappled with flooding in the usual places, including Mission Valley, where multiple roads were impassable, and Ocean Beach, where beachgoers didn’t necessarily have to reach the ocean to go for a swim. Dennis Romero, NBC News, 23 Jan. 2024 Gusty winds left fences damaged and roadways impassable, according to the authorities in Panama City, Fla., where the storm moved through on Tuesday. Christine Hauser, New York Times, 9 Jan. 2024 But white-out conditions hit some elevated areas, and the combination of snow and fierce winds made travel on I-8 in eastern San Diego County treacherous and, at times, impassable. Gary Robbins, San Diego Union-Tribune, 1 Oct. 2023 Heavy rains may make parts of this hike impassable, so plan accordingly. The Indianapolis Star, 20 Mar. 2024 Heavy rain also loosens the soil, causing sinkholes, mudslides and downed trees, which can make a route dangerous or impassable. Michael Charboneau, Los Angeles Times, 29 Feb. 2024 Before and after that dubious achievement, Milwaukee got hit with a ton of snow, and because the city did not yet have alternate-side-of-the-street parking restrictions in place, some neighborhoods were impassable, with plows unable to dig between parked cars on both sides of the street. Chris Foran, Journal Sentinel, 12 Jan. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'impassable.' 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

1562, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of impassable was in 1562

Dictionary Entries Near impassable

Cite this Entry

“Impassable.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


im·​pass·​able (ˈ)im-ˈpas-ə-bəl How to pronounce impassable (audio)
: impossible to pass, cross, or travel over
roads made impassable by the hurricane
impassability noun

More from Merriam-Webster on impassable

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