Definition of unmentionable in English:



  • Too embarrassing, offensive, or shocking to be spoken about.

    ‘the unmentionable subject of incontinence’
    • ‘It made you wonder if there was something smelly and not disclosed, or perhaps it was meeting the Ghost from Melbourne, or as one shareholder and Mr Clark both described it ‘another unmentionable company.’’
    • ‘This was the great unmentionable fact when I was working there.’
    • ‘One unmentionable aspect of the war is the role of this mutlibillion-dollar corporate war machine.’
    • ‘On this view beauty - to the extent that beauty, along with truth, has not been ejected into the dustbin of unmentionable ideas - really is in the eye of the beholder and nowhere else.’
    • ‘Bryan and I have been talking about baby timing for a while now, and my biggest concern - aside from the possibility of ending up with stitches in unmentionable places - was that we be completely settled somewhere first.’
    • ‘It seems to be the unmentionable subject, and everyone assumes that Cheney will be the vice president, and he probably will be.’
    • ‘In The Consequences of Love, ‘Every man has an unmentionable secret,’ and none is more elusive than that of the international businessman.’
    • ‘As mortgage lenders last week upgraded their forecasts for house price inflation this year, commentators began whispering those two, until this moment, unmentionable words ‘hard landing’.’
    • ‘So the other day when I was struck with this unmentionable ailment and spent the evening in bed crying out with pain… I sort of decided that was it.’
    • ‘This particular kind of death makes people skittish, thinking suicide either a shameful or unmentionable kind of death.’
    • ‘Because the good doctor has dared to utter the unmentionable truth: That the United States simply cannot afford to continue its current policy of absolute, unqualified support of the state of Israel.’
    • ‘Today as I wandered down, crunching on broken glass and avoiding unmentionable messes, I saw the corner of a bed in the corner of a window in the corner of an apartment.’
    • ‘With some trepidation that I might hear those two unmentionable words… ‘Tim Henman’, I asked Lewis's mother who was his tennis-playing idol.’
    • ‘There was a flicker of interest in Latham in the opening moments of the not-very-great debate - when he tackled the other unmentionable issues, Iran and the war against terror.’
    • ‘Confirmed believers aside, isn't the price we demand for our conviction a perpetual insulation against the unmentionable fear and unimaginable pain that come with premature loss of our loved ones?’
    • ‘Until recently, however, it has been an unmentionable industry, rarely spoken of by politicians, air-brushed out of tourist literature and never claimed as a hobby by anyone with ambitions to make their way in public life.’
    • ‘Plastic bags filled with unmentionable contents; old shoes; broken toys; twisted bits of wire and metal; old mattresses with their innards spilling out; all lie tangled in a sludge of human waste.’
    • ‘There are bones, there is blood, there are intestines, and all manner of unmentionable parts.’
    • ‘‘The unmentionable odour of death,’ he wrote, ‘offends the September night.’’
    • ‘Some historians studying the brutal battles for the Mediterranean have ended by asking an almost unmentionable question, which Woodall's plain account does not address: should Malta have been held at all, against such odds?’
    taboo, censored, forbidden, banned, interdicted, proscribed, prohibited, not to be spoken of, ineffable, unspeakable, unutterable, unprintable, indescribable, out of bounds, beyond the pale, off limits, that dare not speak its name, disapproved of, frowned on
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usually unmentionables
  • 1A person or thing that is too shocking or embarrassing to be mentioned by name.

    ‘wearing nothing but fig leaves over their unmentionables’
    • ‘Dirty cheating usually involves a personal financial gain made from a betrayal of trust or from some form of subterfuge; it is widely condemned and spoken of either in anger or in the guarded terms of the unmentionable.’
    • ‘If Zizek were a little less suspicious of Spinoza, he would realise that the problem, the obscenity, is not passion - which is mandatory, ubiquitous - but that great unmentionable, affection.’
    • ‘Elizabeth's multi-talented Godson amused her court with his translations of risqué foreign verses and not surprisingly, bold wit that he was, he was never afraid to mention the unmentionable.’
    • ‘And in her agony, in her utter helplessness, mentioned the unmentionable.’
    • ‘By doing the unmentionable, the unthinkable, Sethe bears witness to the despair of a black woman slave faced with the threat of having ‘the best part of her… sullied’.’
    • ‘I think we'll find that if we finally dare to mention the unmentionable, finally start pointing out that with rights come responsibilities, sure, some people will pout and whine and wave their little fists about.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, it's the unmentionable that gets the most mention.’
    • ‘To mention the unmentionable is already impossible.’
    • ‘The second unmentionable is that even if we do get the Rolls, odds are we'll immediately crave another.’
    • ‘One source said: ‘It has been the big unmentionable, but it's back on the agenda.’’
    • ‘Yale University may promulgate the ‘right to think the unthinkable, discuss the unmentionable, and challenge the unchallengeable,’ but I have no right to expect funding or resources to help confirm my hypothesis.’
    • ‘The weapons of mass destruction lies went entirely unchallenged, while the great unmentionable throughout the entire debate was the imperialist ambitions of the US.’
    • ‘Amongst those whom I brought with me to remove the scales from his eyes was a present county councillor who was a former independent and who is now an unmentionable.’
    • ‘Alaina fought not to snap at Sonora for mentioning the unmentionable, instead she asked, ‘What is this, do you know?’’
    • ‘They do business with China, but they have to treat Cuba as the great unmentionable, the pariah.’
    • ‘When he does mention the unmentionable, as an aside, the effect is callous.’
    • ‘The matter of discrimination stays out of the picture, the great unmentionable that might spoil the happy day.’
    • ‘There's a pattern here, but it's hard to see because gender is the great unmentionable in public life, and women are especially invisible as citizens in a time of crisis.’
    • ‘The youth-fixation of television and, particularly, Hollywood, has made ageing the great cultural unmentionable.’
    • ‘It's always the great unmentionable, and unless our great absentee landlord is going to put money in his pocket…’ he tails off.’
    1. 1.1unmentionables Underwear.
      • ‘When was the last time you had a cute kitty design on your unmentionables?’
      • ‘Yes, you need to keep your unmentionables from showing through.’
      • ‘And you don't have to worry about sand surreptitiously entering your unmentionables (although this can still happen through a string of eerie coincidences).’
      • ‘Every time there was a field trip or a fee at school, she would tell her mother and father a few dollars more, hoarding the extras in a jar beneath all her clothes in her unmentionables drawer in her dresser.’
      • ‘I pulled on the nearest pair of jeans after changing my unmentionables and shoved a blue sweater over my head.’
      • ‘He purchased unremarkable jerseys, jeans, and unmentionables.’