9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[in-skroo-tuh-buh l] /ɪnˈskru tə bəl/
incapable of being investigated, analyzed, or scrutinized; impenetrable.
not easily understood; mysterious; unfathomable:
an inscrutable smile.
incapable of being seen through physically; physically impenetrable:
the inscrutable depths of the ocean.
Origin of inscrutable
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English < Late Latin inscrūtābilis. See in-3, scrutable
Related forms
inscrutability, inscrutableness, noun
inscrutably, adverb
1. hidden, incomprehensible, undiscoverable, inexplicable. See mysterious.
1. comprehensible. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for inscrutable
  • He looked straight ahead, his almond-shaped face inscrutable beneath a peaked yellow-silk cap.
  • The remainder of the contents were equally inscrutable.
  • What might be called the juvenilia of this inscrutable mind include some attempts at verse.
  • Above and over all, the mystery of the night and the desert places hovered inscrutable and implacable.
  • She chiefly communicates with us by means of telegrams, and her telegrams are rather inscrutable.
  • The touch screen required frequent button presses for it to sluggishly reveal yet another inscrutable multi-layered menu.
  • Only by nature running its inscrutable computations could the result become apparent.
  • It is not the only inscrutable country to be cosying up to the inscrutable private-equity industry.
  • They ought to be wary of inscrutable companies, giving the firms an incentive to change their ways.
  • Well-being, finally, has no single measure and is not inscrutable to others.
British Dictionary definitions for inscrutable


incomprehensible; mysterious or enigmatic
Derived Forms
inscrutability, inscrutableness, noun
inscrutably, adverb
Word Origin
C15: from Late Latin inscrūtābilis, from Latin in-1 + scrūtārī to examine
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for inscrutable

c.1500, from Late Latin inscrutabilis, from in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + scrutabilis, from scrutari "examine, ransack" (see scrutiny). Related: Inscrutably.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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