Definition of unnameable in English:


(also unnamable)


  • Not able to be named, especially because too bad or horrific:

    ‘his mind was blank with an unnameable fear’
    • ‘Bonneville has an understanding of Bell's unstructured genius, as he says his own songwriting comes from some unknown, unnameable place - one perhaps inspired by the rhythm of car wheels on the next curve of the highway.’
    • ‘What is new about President Bush's order is that it radically erases any legal status of the individual, thus producing a legally unnameable and unclassifiable being.’
    • ‘This irrational fear of something unnameable was affecting, not only her, but her family as well (proven by Dire).’
    • ‘Food wrappers, drink cans, discarded toys, plastic things and other unnameable objects occupy the full length of a couple of hundred yards of this quiet alternative to the noisy traffic-logged streets.’
    • ‘It has a sculpted, sensual quality, a richness of texture missing from most modern cinema: in place of all those clean, digital, precise empty blockbusters here's something dense, deep, full of unnameable spectral presences.’
    • ‘My decidedly laissez-faire parents assumed that if I were to engage in the unnameable, I was too smart to get pregnant.’
    • ‘The word is all the more frightening for naming the unnameable.’
    • ‘Listening to US leaders over the past six months, it seems that the unnameable, unknowable enemy in the war on terror is everywhere - and nowhere.’
    • ‘Let the word dissociate from the literal Biblical meanings and instead focus on its mystical intent - a name for the unnameable.’
    • ‘A strictly unnamable family member tells me that relations with Brightman are so warm that she's tried to pay back some of the £6m divorce settlement.’
    • ‘But if Barbara causes Stephen to blush and long for something yet unnameable, he is also becoming aware of complicated adult relationships as he becomes drawn into the drama of Mrs Hayward's ‘secret missions’.’
    • ‘They come to know the sameness of reality who recollect and meditate the unnameable name of the transcendent one, God.’
    • ‘The brutal excesses of L' Innominato remain, as his name suggests, unnameable.’
    • ‘It was the only way I knew to rage against the threat of annihilation and to name that which was unnamable.’
    • ‘No, it's something more truly human-a hand outstretched to touch an unnameable thing.’
    • ‘The best of these are anthologies that variously name the unnamable truth: we are frail, mortal, and doomed to suffer.’
    • ‘HQ Hotel 2 Tango, they're sparking interest from a certain vanity label of an as yet unnameable ex-indie-rock star.’
    • ‘Music can name the unnameable and communicate the unknowable.’
    • ‘USA Today congratulated it for ‘powerfully and palpably capturing the isolation, confusion and unnameable fears of childhood’.’
    • ‘I am rich in the only scale that counts and whilst I may be feeling a tiny bit wistful or dare I say it hurt or jealous or some other unnameable emotion it is fleeting and I know with certainty that I am the luckiest lady in the world…’