Definitions

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

  • adjective Incapable of having existence or of occurring.
  • adjective Not capable of being accomplished.
  • adjective Unacceptable; intolerable.
  • adjective Extremely difficult to deal with or tolerate.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Not possible; non-existent or false by necessity.
  • In law, in a stricter sense, prevented only by the act of God or a public enemy.
  • Excessively odd; not to have been imagined; such as would not have been thought possible: as, she is a most impossible person; he wears an impossible hat.
  • noun An impossibility.

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

  • adjective Not possible; incapable of being done, of existing, etc.; unattainable in the nature of things, or by means at command; insuperably difficult under the circumstances; absurd or impracticable; not feasible.
  • adjective (Math.) an imaginary quantity. See Imaginary.
  • noun obsolete An impossibility.

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

  • adjective Not possible, not able to be done.
  • adjective colloquial, of a person Very difficult to deal with.
  • noun an impossibility
  • noun uncountable (with definite article) that which seems impossible

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

  • noun something that cannot be done
  • adjective not capable of occurring or being accomplished or dealt with
  • adjective used of persons or their behavior
  • adjective totally unlikely

Etymologies

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

[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin impossibilis : in-, not; see in– + possibilis, possible; see possible.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From French impossible, from Latin impossibilis, from in- ("not") + possibilis ("possible"), from possum ("to be able") + suffix -ibilis ("-able").

Examples

  • "As it was impossible they should know the words, thoughts and secret actions of all men, so it was _more impossible_ they should pass judgment on them according to these things."

    How to Speak and Write Correctly

  • "You can't make me believe _that_ -- it's rubbish -- like the mango tree and rope trick -- it's impossible, simply _impossible_ to make strong-minded, level-headed people do things against their will."

    Leonie of the Jungle

  • "Don't you realize that it's impossible -- _impossible_ for us to remain here?"

    The Hermit of Far End

  • “And after three years of secrecy and exasperation, I found that to complete it was impossible, —impossible.

    Certain First Principles

  • God, have rendered that relief physically impossible; and yet he would abrogate the poor-laws by an act of the legislature, in order to take away that _impossible_ relief, which the laws of God deny, and which the laws of man _actually_ afford.

    The Spirit of the Age Contemporary Portraits

  • "It cannot be -- it is impossible, _impossible_ that you desert a beautiful and good wife who expects your child.

    The Nest Builder

  • She held her gaze on Helen, never blinking, her expression impossible to read.

    The Glass Rainbow

  • She held her gaze on Helen, never blinking, her expression impossible to read.

    The Glass Rainbow

  • She held her gaze on Helen, never blinking, her expression impossible to read.

    The Glass Rainbow

  • And, yes, we use the term impossible in its most technical sense.

    Common_Cents’s blog - RedState

Comments

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  • "Kenny: I still haven't called or seen or spoken to her... This is the cute girl who lives below me who made me cookies.

    shewholaughsloud: kenny, maybe you would be more attractive if you worked more than 10 hours a week.

    shewholaughsloud: oh wait, that's me

    Kenny: nice

    Kenny: She's cute and she made me cookies. What could go wrong, I thought?

    shewholaughsloud: you thought that, and then she moved away

    shewholaughsloud: maybe she's staying at her boyfriend's?

    shewholaughsloud: maybe she's playing 'impossible to get'

    shewholaughsloud: hahaha

    shewholaughsloud: I just made that up

    Kenny: nice!

    shewholaughsloud: *proud*

    Kenny: that's awesome

    Kenny: they always play that."

    - work related IM conversation

    January 19, 2008

  • Haha, where do you "work?" ;-)

    January 21, 2008

  • "Alice laughed. 'There's no use trying,' she said, 'One can't believe impossible things.' 'I dare say you haven't had much practice,' said the Queen. 'When I was your age I did it for half an hour a day. Why sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.'"

    - Lewis Carroll, 'Through the Looking Glass'.

    February 5, 2009

  • "The word 'impossible' is not in my dictionary. In fact, everything between 'herring' and 'marmalade' appears to be missing."

    —Dirk Gently

    May 27, 2009

  • Ha! *remembers DG books fondly*

    May 28, 2009

  • "In two words, im-possible."

    Samuel Goldwyn (1879-1974) - quoted in Alva Johnson: The Great Goldwyn

    September 20, 2009