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[uhn-thing-kuh-buh l] /ʌnˈθɪŋ kə bəl/
inconceivable; unimaginable:
the unthinkable size of the universe.
not to be considered; out of the question:
Such a suggestion is unthinkable.
something that cannot be conceived or imagined, as something too unusual, vague, or disagreeable:
Today's unthinkables are tomorrow's realities.
Origin of unthinkable
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English; see un-1, thinkable
Related forms
unthinkability, unthinkableness, noun
unthinkably, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for unthinkable
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • They were much given to gluttony and drinking; and there was an unthinkable amount of scandal and backbiting and jealousy.

    Samuel the Seeker Upton Sinclair
  • They are unthinkable and only to be approached by the statistician or the poet.

    Howards End E. M. Forster
  • Worn as he was, it was unthinkable that he should go far to-night.

    Scaramouche Rafael Sabatini
  • At best, it was void of honor; at worst, it was unthinkable.

    The Dominant Strain Anna Chapin Ray
  • It was unthinkable that he could live in it alone, it would be haunted by memories, he would see her in every room.

British Dictionary definitions for unthinkable


not to be contemplated; out of the question
unimaginable; inconceivable
unreasonable; improbable
Derived Forms
unthinkability, unthinkableness, noun
unthinkably, 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 unthinkable

early 15c., "too large to be conceived, unimaginable," from un- (1) "not" + thinkable (see think). Meaning "incapable of being framed by thought" is recorded from mid-15c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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