Definition of impossibility in English:



  • 1[mass noun] The state or fact of being impossible.

    ‘the impossibility of finding reliable staff’
    • ‘The Museum of Unworkable Devices explores the interface between hope and physical impossibility.’
    • ‘He knew from his own experience the near impossibility of forging a new life after prison.’
    • ‘The key concern in Jones's work is the aching desire to know the self and the ultimate impossibility of self-knowledge.’
    • ‘The impossibility of bringing this tale to the big screen would daunt any sane filmmaker.’
    • ‘Could this be the answer to the continuing search for the home of one's dreams, and the sheer impossibility of being able to afford to buy a property in this city?’
    • ‘One of my themes is the possibility or impossibility of connection with others.’
    • ‘It stunned me, that night, just the sheer impossibility of it all.’
    • ‘The other thing that sticks in my mind is the vague sense of the overwhelming impossibility of the task.’
    • ‘Another personnel problem is the near impossibility of firing poor performers.’
    • ‘The sheer impossibility of summarising Oracle Night is in fact a mark of the book's strength.’
    • ‘The first is that the interpreter has placed the idea of objective truth into the realm of impossibility.’
    • ‘This room should destroy the magic of the work, yet it juxtaposes the basis and the result, and heightens the sense of impossibility.’
    • ‘It was at this moment of insanity that the sheer impossibility of the situation came to him.’
    • ‘It seems likely that this was no mere oversight on his part, but in fact a logical impossibility.’
    • ‘How do you explain the apparent impossibility of your words?’
    • ‘My objections regarding the mathematical impossibility of such an outcome were always readily ignored.’
    • ‘The great apparent problem with this new ideology is its impossibility.’
    • ‘In fact, the impossibility of answering the question is his very reason for asking it.’
    • ‘The obvious impossibility of this task only adds to its fascination.’
    • ‘The impossibility of reform became apparent only two years after his election.’
    1. 1.1[count noun]An impossible thing.
      ‘they believe that a world at peace is an impossibility’
      • ‘But even though his initial search for glory has destroyed his life, he pursues the monster with the same ardor and passion with which he created him, determined to succeed despite the physical impossibilities.’
      • ‘I've always been an advocate that the simplest left-brain logic is often key to resolving design impossibilities with no viable counters or mending.’
      • ‘After eliminating the impossibilities, the master of deduction explained, he had been left with one simple irrevocable conclusion, as plain as the nose on one's face.’
      • ‘Most genuine impossibilities can be made possible by enlarging the frame of reference, by relaxing the conditions tacitly taken as fixed in the original statement of impossibility.’
      • ‘Softness and subtlety mark the essence of Lost in Translation, a film that takes as its premise the impossibilities of human communication and then tells a story that transcends them.’
      • ‘But difficulties are not impossibilities, and the participants in this symposium discussed some of the approaches that are beginning to reduce our ignorance.’
      • ‘It would make it easier to tell him he talked of impossibilities.’
      • ‘Othello is a mass of temporal impossibilities.’
      • ‘You'll start to get hung up on little dumb things like the physical impossibilities that riddle most of the activities the characters do.’
      • ‘Previously conceived impossibilities danced in all their minds as they forged forward.’
      • ‘Today I shall…… try to intensify my dislike for anything false, to the point that lying and deceit become physical impossibilities for me.’
      • ‘Find the light side of your crazy day, learn to laugh about impossibilities with good friends.’
      • ‘Let's get all the possibilities and impossibilities on the table now.’
      • ‘Beware of a selfish person who seeks impossibilities.’
      • ‘However, there are still passages in which Descartes says that God can bring about impossibilities (and not just that we ought not say that He cannot).’
      • ‘These murders culminate in his suicide, which is, like the murders themselves, shrouded in empirical impossibilities and supernatural improbabilities.’
      • ‘I could believe in impossibilities, but you made them realities.’
      • ‘How much are we able to let go of our reality while we sleep, dreaming of impossibilities, flying without wings, achieving the unachievable?’
      • ‘But in my daydreaming fifteen-year-old soul, the impossibilities inherent in such a feeling only served to intensify my hero-worship of William.’
      • ‘The result is a borderline-incoherent story that is so riddled with holes and impossibilities that it defies understanding.’


Late Middle English: from French impossibilite or Latin impossibilitas, from impossibilis, from in- not + possibilis (see possible).