from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Not capable of joint existence; incompatible; inconsistent.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Not capable of joint existence; incompatible; inconsistent.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Not possible to be or to be true together; incapable of coexistence; incompatible.


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

in- +‎ compossible


  • Third, selves or individuals, rather than being closed upon the compossible and convergent world they express from within, are now torn open, and kept open through the divergent series and incompossible ensembles that continually pull them outside themselves.

    Gilles Deleuze

  • The state may threaten to jail those who steal, which (let us assume) makes it incompossible both to steal and to retain one's freedom.


  • What were compossible goods have now become incompossible, and a valuable option (e.g., keeping one's money) has become essentially foreclosed.


  • If such a regime is in fact valuable, then the threat to incarcerate thieves may both reduce people's freedom with respect to one sort of action (by making stealing incompossible with remaining unincarcerated), while enhancing it with respect to others (by making it possible to accumulate, use, and trade private property).


  • Instead of such low language as "Go heel yourself -- I mean to kill you on sight," the words, "Sir, we are incompossible," would convey and equally significant intimation and in stately courtesy are altogether superior.

    INTERNET WIRETAP: The Devil's Dictionary, by Ambrose Bierce (1993 Edition)

  • Paris "behind the" infinite number of potentially incompossible graspings layered on the spacetime location of Paris. "

    Larval Subjects .


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  • nice!

    June 27, 2007

  • I think if Ambrose Bierce uses it, we have to agree it is a classic.

    June 25, 2007

  • Not at all obsolete: used by Deleuze to refer to non-realist fictions (and also the condition of postmodernism, as in "My day job is incompossible with my pursuits in Second Life"), such as Borges. I didn't realise that it was so storied until I tripped over this link to the Devil's Dictionary. Long may it not be expunged!

    June 24, 2007

  • There are so many portmanteaus around here, I've come to expect them. ;-)

    June 15, 2007

  • Lovely! I thought this must be a neologism, perhaps formed from incomprehensible and impossible. But it is a word with a long history--obsolete or obsolescent, in fact. Perhaps it should be revivified. Note to self: use this word at dinner tonight and get feedback.

    June 15, 2007