9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[uhn-spee-kuh-buh l] /ʌnˈspi kə bəl/
not speakable; that may not be spoken.
exceeding the power of speech; unutterable; inexpressible; indescribable.
inexpressibly bad or objectionable.
Origin of unspeakable
1350-1400; Middle English unspekeabill. See un-1, speakable
Related forms
unspeakableness, noun
unspeakably, adverb
2. ineffable, unimaginable. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for unspeakable
  • It seems impossible that something that tragic, that unspeakable, was once a part of my life.
  • We do not generally relegate capitalism to the shelf of unspeakable evils whenever human trafficking or sweatshops are unearthed.
  • They nudge open the door ever so slightly into a place where the unspeakable is whispered.
  • And when taboos are broken, new forms and modes of discourse must evolve to contain that which has previously been unspeakable.
  • In his bed at night he imagined unspeakable things and in the morning went forth to tell his dreams as facts.
  • The second is to make sense of it, which is to say, to produce an account of the unspeakable that anyone can understand.
  • There is fire and torment, and unspeakable practices, dwelled upon at length.
  • Those were unspeakable secrets, kept not only from the world but from each other.
  • We were also denounced for embracing the unspeakable-sociobiology.
  • Paintings in part decipherable, but mostly unspeakable.
British Dictionary definitions for unspeakable


incapable of expression in words: unspeakable ecstasy
indescribably bad or evil
not to be uttered: unspeakable thoughts
Derived Forms
unspeakableness, noun
unspeakably, adverb
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 unspeakable

c.1400, "inexpressible," from un- (1) "not" + speakable (see speak). Meaning "indescribably bad or wicked" is recorded from 1831. Related: Unspeakably.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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