Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Impossible to comprehend or grasp fully: inconceivable folly; an inconceivable disaster.
  • adj. So unlikely or surprising as to have been thought impossible; unbelievable: an inconceivable victory against all odds.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. unable to be conceived, unbelievable

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Not conceivable; incapable of being conceived by the mind; not explicable by the human intellect, or by any known principles or agencies; incomprehensible.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Incapable of being conceived, or realized in the imagination; incredible; inexplicable.
  • An expression which conveys no conception whatever, but is mere gibberish, is not called inconceivable, but unintelligible. The word inconceivable (see also unconceivable) is used in the following senses in philosophy: Involving a contradiction in terms, such as the idea of a non-existent being.
  • Unacceptable to the mind because involving a violation of laws believed to be well established by positive evidence, as a perpetual motion.
  • Unimaginable by man on account of an inseparable association, although not perhaps involving any contradiction nor even physically impossible, as the perception of color without extension.
  • Unimaginable to a particular person from novelty, as the idea that parallel straight lines meet at infinity.
  • Capable of being conceived only by a negative or relaive notion, such as the idea of infinity.
  • Incredible; not to be imagined as believed in by any man, as the supposition of an event undetermined by a cause.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. totally unlikely

Etymologies

Sorry, no etymologies found.

Examples

  • It would be more correct, in fact, to restrict the use of the term inconceivable to the former case: for although we cannot think, or construe to ourselves logically, an efficient cause or mind, such a cause is so far from being inconceivable to reason that reason expressly demands and affirms it.

    Theism: The Witness of Reason and Nature to an All-Wise and Beneficent Creator.

  • What's inconceivable is if you use the password saving feature, all your passwords are displayed in your settings with no encryption and no password protection to view all your information.

    Google Chrome 2 Brings New Features And Serious Speed | Lifehacker Australia

  • It's not so inconceivable, is it -- at least in the context of a Broadway-musical romance -- that a refrain might strike lovers as magically fresh or revelatory every time it was repeated?

    Tom Gliatto: A Complaint About Sondheim

  • But hieroglyphics and histories which seem to pass the bounds of belief I call inconceivable; yet even among these last there are many which our method enables us to investigate, and to discover the meaning of their narrator.

    Theologico-Political Treatise

  • First steps have been taken in the conversion of military industries, and what seemed inconceivable is happening: recent Cold War adversaries are establishing cooperation in this area.

    Mikhail Gorbachev - Nobel Lecture

  • Hamilton's use of the word inconceivable, and finds that it is applied in three senses, in one of which all that is inexplicable, including the first principles, is held to be inconceivable.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 4: Clandestinity-Diocesan Chancery

  • Harrington was throwing in inconceivable flourishes, while Malemute Kid, utterly abandoned, had seized the broom and was executing mad gyrations on his own account.

    The Wife of the King

  • It is necessary to advert to a double meaning of the word inconceivable, which Mr. Spencer is aware of, and would sincerely disclaim founding an argument upon, but from which his case derives no little advantage notwithstanding.

    A System Of Logic, Ratiocinative And Inductive

  • We now, therefore, know positively that Mr. Spencer always endeavors to use the word inconceivable in this, its proper, sense: but it may yet be questioned whether his endeavor is always successful; whether the other, and popular use of the word, does not sometimes creep in with its associations, and prevent him from maintaining a clear separation between the two.

    A System Of Logic, Ratiocinative And Inductive

  • It is possible that some of the likes were similar to the famous line by Inigo Montoya in the movie "The Princess Bride", where said of Vizzini's repeated use of the word inconceivable: "I do not think it means what you think it means."

    NYT > Home Page

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