Definition of impossible in English:



  • 1Not able to occur, exist, or be done.

    ‘a seemingly impossible task’
    with infinitive ‘it was almost impossible to keep up with him’
    • ‘Not being nervous is, of course, probably impossible under the circumstances.’
    • ‘She also can only pick things up with her right hand and everyday tasks such as opening a bottle are impossible.’
    • ‘To determine their views is a difficult task, no doubt, but not entirely impossible.’
    • ‘She told me that what I was suggesting was physically impossible to achieve.’
    • ‘Synthesising all of the various glycoforms in the laboratory would be an almost impossible task.’
    • ‘Drug use has become so widespread and accepted that it is impossible to enforce existing laws.’
    • ‘Could he have pulled off the seemingly impossible feat of winning a fourth consecutive Gold Cup?’
    • ‘Even tasks I have done a million times alone become impossible feats when others are watching.’
    • ‘She told a newspaper how even simple tasks like buying a pint of milk have become impossible for her.’
    • ‘Insufficient archaeological evidence makes it impossible at the moment to answer any of these questions with confidence.’
    • ‘An impossible dream, I told myself, but it was what I wanted.’
    • ‘Evidently it was difficult but not impossible to achieve the rank of officer.’
    • ‘Representing such a lifetime's work on a single disc is a near impossible task.’
    • ‘For this reason a refund was impossible, a situation which we regard as very unfair.’
    • ‘While canvassing, it's impossible to tell which way people will vote.’
    • ‘Within a few years making such a film became difficult: it would be impossible today.’
    • ‘He points out that in Bangalore, it is well-nigh impossible to get a hotel room.’
    • ‘We'll only give in when it becomes mathematically impossible to catch them.’
    • ‘I wanted to be sympathetic to their experience, but found it impossible.’
    • ‘It is impossible to know what the real situation is, so we assume the worst.’
    not possible, beyond the bounds of possibility, out of the question, not worth considering
    unattainable, unachievable, unobtainable, hopeless, impractical, implausible, far-fetched, impracticable, unworkable
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    1. 1.1 Very difficult to deal with.
      ‘she was in an impossible situation’
      • ‘He added it would put people from Pool in an impossible situation.’
      • ‘That wrong knowing of the nature of the world puts us in an impossible situation.’
      • ‘Clergy and parents are being put through impossible situations each and every year.’
      • ‘The entire programme was based around the index, so it appeared to be an impossible situation.’
      • ‘For some people such a situation might be unacceptable or even an impossible state of affairs.’
      • ‘Those of you in that impossible situation have all my empathy, and best wishes for a happy resolution.’
      • ‘The situation is impossible, but my love for the country is too great for me to leave.’
      unbearable, intolerable, unendurable, unsustainable
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    2. 1.2informal (of a person) very unreasonable.
      ‘what an arrogant impossible fool’
      • ‘He was confusing enough when he was alive but now, when he's dead, he's impossible.’
      unmanageable, intractable, recalcitrant, wayward, objectionable, difficult, demanding, awkward, perverse, ungovernable
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Middle English: from Old French, or from Latin impossibilis, from in- ‘not’ + possibilis (see possible).