Definition of incurable in English:



  • 1(of a sick person or a disease) not able to be cured.

    ‘even when the sick are incurable they are never untreatable’
    ‘incurable diseases’
    • ‘When he realised his disease was incurable he retired to pursue his interests and spend time with his young family.’
    • ‘This predictability of the dying phase is not always as clear in other chronic incurable diseases.’
    • ‘But the claim that a product can cure an incurable disease should sound alarms.’
    • ‘In this week's program we hear the personal stories of three people who have been struck down with the incurable illness Motor Neurone Disease.’
    • ‘A rocky relationship is unlikely to be saved by the crushing blow of chronic incurable illness.’
    • ‘Sigmund Freud echoed such views, while suffering from incurable cancer of the palate.’
    • ‘Pulmonary arterial hypertension is a rare, incurable disease of poor prognosis.’
    • ‘Here, hundreds of millions of men, women and children are suffering from an incurable disease, chronic arsonicosis, and millions more are at risk.’
    • ‘There are incurable diseases in medicine, incorrigible vices in the ministry, insoluble cases in law.’
    • ‘He established one of the first licensed fetal-tissue banks in the country, collecting pancreases for research that may lead to cures for incurable diseases.’
    • ‘What about those tales where the whole ship falls sick with some incurable disease?’
    • ‘Devotees hold that any incurable disease will be cured and any desire will be fulfilled by pilgrimaging to this temple.’
    • ‘Many of those who support human embryonic stem-cell research do so for the best of motives, to try and find cures for incurable diseases.’
    • ‘Even in cases of incurable cancer, palliative or experimental therapy may improve quality and extent of life.’
    • ‘The disease is incurable in about half of patients at presentation.’
    • ‘I could have been President, or the doctor who finds the cure for some incurable disease or anything else I ever set my mind to.’
    • ‘Thus most educated and uneducated groups sought and held sufficient biomedical knowledge to understand that diabetes was incurable and to commit to biomedical management.’
    • ‘Most of the problems associated with chronic or incurable illness, being social issues, require interventions by communities.’
    • ‘That will change once people living with the incurable disease - for which there is still no vaccine - gain access to increasingly affordable, life prolonging antiretroviral drugs, it said.’
    • ‘Neurologists are often accused of being interested in only rare incurable diseases.’
    untreatable, inoperable, irremediable, beyond cure
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 (of a person or behaviour) unable to be changed.
      ‘an incurable optimist’
      • ‘For an incurable optimist like me, the Wallabies showed enough to keep me hopeful that they really can retain the World Cup as long as all the cards fall the right way.’
      • ‘There are signs of improvement, but only an incurable optimist would conclude that the game is in rude health.’
      • ‘An incurable optimist, I have every faith that technology will rid itself of its maladies and go on to create a better world.’
      • ‘I've mentioned before his incurable optimism and general good will and positive attitudes.’
      • ‘Infinitely understated but eminently sophisticated, this album is a treat made for incurable romantics to love unreservedly.’
      • ‘They came of gentry stock, and their father exhibited one of the occasional weaknesses of that origin - an incurable optimism in money matters which left him penniless.’
      • ‘Her partner was an incurable optimist and also a firm believer in hope, and Drea knew that if it weren't for her sake, Kiremay would have kept going until the ends of the world.’
      • ‘Hughes is well cast as the sympathetic, Candide-like Simon, an incurable optimist who talks about hopelessness without quite grasping the concept himself.’
      • ‘With incurable optimism went a sense of power and vast reserves of energy encompassing the continent.’
      • ‘Although an incurable enthusiast, Crampsey nevertheless cannot be optimistic about the future of football in Scotland.’
      • ‘The track record for winning anything was pretty poor, but I'm an incurable optimist.’
      • ‘‘I find most skeptics to be incurable optimists,’ Hyde continues.’
      • ‘Ultimately, he is surprisingly reminiscent of the incurable sentimentalist, forever seeking comfort and reassurance for his damaged inner child.’
      • ‘He responds with the optimism and fervour of the incurable romantic.’
      • ‘He is a great talker, a charming and incurable optimist, and everything is grist to his mill.’
      • ‘Call me an incurable optimist, but it does happen.’
      inveterate, dyed-in-the-wool, confirmed, entrenched, established, long-established, long-standing, deep-rooted, diehard, complete, absolute, utter, thorough, thoroughgoing, out-and-out, true blue, through and through
      View synonyms


  • A person who cannot be cured.

    • ‘Triage will take one look at me and stick me with the rest of the incurables.’
    • ‘The details of their lives reach his ears in the discordant strains of barking seals, tubercular incurables, lowing cattle, bawling mourners, and want-to-be pundits.’
    • ‘From the early twentieth century many psychiatrists began to establish private practices in the belief that asylums had become repositories for the incurable.’
    • ‘Showing little progress and imposing a burden on educators and their resources, the incurables were gradually abandoned in favor of those who showed more promise.’
    • ‘The hospital - which has more than 2,000 fundraisers - was first opened as a cancer pavilion and home for incurables in 1892, but was renamed The Christie Hospital in 1901 in recognition of the pioneering work of both Mr and Mrs Christie.’


Middle English: from Old French, or from late Latin incurabilis, from in- ‘not’ + curabilis (see curable).