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

  • adj. Beyond description; inexpressible: unspeakable happiness.
  • adj. Inexpressibly bad or objectionable: unspeakable poverty.
  • adj. Not to be spoken: unspeakable thoughts.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Incapable of being spoken or uttered; unutterable; ineffable; inexpressible.
  • adj. Unfit or not permitted to be spoken or described.
  • adj. Extremely bad or objectionable.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Not speakable; incapable of being uttered or adequately described; inexpressible; unutterable; ineffable.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Not able to speak.
  • Incapable of being spoken or uttered; unutterable; ineffable; inexpressible.
  • Extreme; extremely bad: as, an unspeakable fool; an unspeakable play.

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

  • adj. defying expression or description
  • adj. too sacred to be uttered
  • adj. exceptionally bad or displeasing


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • This is the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church where religious leaders say the shooting was devastating, but they also say it brought what they call unspeakable amounts of love afterwards.

    CNN Transcript Aug 3, 2008

  • After local prejudice and the family's own emotional frailty result in unspeakable tragedy, the gravedigger's daughter, Rebecca, begins her astonishing pilgrimage into America, an odyssey of erotic risk and imaginative daring, ingenious self-invention, and, in the end, a bittersweetbut very "American" triumph.

    The Gravedigger's Daughter by Joyce Carol Oates: Book summary

  • Being able to speak the unspeakable is very powerful.

    Thor's Day

  • At the United Nations, Secretary-General Kofi Annan has called for a global battle against what he called the unspeakable horror of terrorism.

    CNN Transcript Sep 25, 2001

  • As a result, the play takes only two and a quarter hours to cover all three of Wilde's trials which culminated in his imprisonment for homosexual acts which go unnamed because they were considered at the time to be "unspeakable" - at least in polite society.


  • To understand what Merton meant by the multi-purpose term the unspeakable, President Obama, I suggest that you consider Dante's famous work known as the "Inferno."

    What Kind of Man Are You, President Obama -- Another LBJ?

  • Meantime, across Africa, a region remains besieged by what can really only be described as unspeakable living conditions.

    CNN Transcript Mar 8, 2006

  • Declaration of Human Rights; an era during which man recalling the unspeakable horrors of Nazism, has called on the South African racists to abandon racism and apartheid.

    January 8 Statement - 1972

  • In one sentence I have passed from the idea of unspeakable happiness to that of unspeakable grief but they were thus closely linked together.


  • Fourth advantage or furtherance towards the maturity or prevalent season of a temptation; which is, the unspeakable malice and activity, together with the incredible skill and boldness of the tempter.

    Sermons Preached Upon Several Occasions. Vol. IV.


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  • full pursuit of the uneatable.

    August 17, 2008