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

  • n. The condition or quality of being impossible.
  • n. Something impossible.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Something that is impossible.
  • n. The quality of being impossible.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The quality of being impossible; impracticability.
  • n. An impossible thing; that which is not possible; that which can not be thought, done, or endured.
  • n. Inability; helplessness.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The quality of being impossible; incapability of being or being done.
  • n. That which is impossible; that which cannot be or be done.
  • n. Helplessness; impotence.

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

  • n. incapability of existing or occurring
  • n. an alternative that is not available


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin impossibilit─üs.


  • This impossibility is articulated in all sorts of familiar assumptions about the inherent, essential properties of the various media and their proper or appropriate modes of perception.

    Ekphrasis and the Other

  • Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne had been hoping for overwhelming approval, and the Fiat statement blasted what it called the impossibility of reaching agreement "with those seeking to block it," a reference to one of the metalworkers unions. Headline News

  • Benedict also discussed his contentious speech in Regensburg, Germany, in 2006, which provoked the ire of the Muslim world; denounced drug abuse; explained what he described as the impossibility of ordaining women as priests; and, with surprising candor, said that if he did not feel up to the task of being pope, he would resign.

    The Seattle Times

  • KenS, factual impossibility is generally not a defense to an inchoate crime (though legal impossibility is).

    Matthew Yglesias » Financial Crisis and Causation

  • The temporal impossibility is impossible, and it's exactly that impossibility that invests the novae and errata of sf and alt-history with their power.

    Notes on Strange Fiction: Seams

  • More to the point, the technical distinction between levels of impossibility is simply not that relevant in terms of how these quirks function; temporal or metaphysical, what we're dealing with is the impossible; novum, erratum or chimera are just different flavours of quirk; and, functionally speaking, these different types of transgression play the same way in most readings.

    Notes on Strange Fiction: Seams

  • Where temporal and nomological impossibility is artificed into narrative in the form of hypothetical/counterfactual and metaphysical quirks, logical impossibility is artificed into narrative in the form of pataphysical quirks.

    Notes on Strange Fiction: The Pataphysical Quirk

  • But we're not sure what level of impossibility is at play here.

    Tim Pratt's "The Frozen One"

  • And it's not the the failure of the Commons idea needs no evidence, it's that the evidence of its abject impossibility is all around us for everyone to see clearly. The Tragedy of 'The Tragedy of the Commons'

  • Likewise, the putative possibility of the real existence of something which forever has no empirical consequences whatsoever and its putative impossibility is a dichotomy, but it's not a false one.

    Backing Into an Evidentiary Standard for ID


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