Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

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

from The Century Dictionary.

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The quality of being impossible; impracticability.
  • noun An impossible thing; that which is not possible; that which can not be thought, done, or endured.
  • noun rare Inability; helplessness.
  • noun a condition or statement involving contradiction or absurdity; as, that a thing can be and not be at the same time. See Principle of Contradiction, under Contradiction.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Something that is impossible.
  • noun uncountable The quality of being impossible.

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

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

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin impossibilitās.

Examples

  • 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.

    Manufacturing.net 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

  • 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.

    Archive 2008-08-01

  • 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

  • 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.

    Archive 2008-08-01

  • 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.

    Archive 2008-08-01

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.