Definition of imponderable in US English:



  • A factor that is difficult or impossible to estimate or assess.

    ‘there are too many imponderables for an overall prediction’
    • ‘As in any election, there are a number of imponderables which have to be taken into account in order to arrive at a calculated guess as to where the four seats will actually go.’
    • ‘There are so many imponderables and uncertainties in this universe that no rational human being can rule out the existence of an unknown unifying force behind all that we see or perceive.’
    • ‘However, a lot of people who know from polls are saying that it's extremely difficult to come up with a sample here because these caucuses have too many imponderables involved.’
    • ‘Ricks' piece in the Post suggests that there are too many imponderables to predict at this point how these developments will play out.’
    • ‘It is impossible, at this early stage, to predict the victors as there are so many imponderables.’
    • ‘A quick run through of the finalists may help to find the winner although there are so many imponderables about this decider that it is going to be a tricky task.’
    • ‘Given the proximity of the interviews, there are still many imponderables that make predicting an outcome near impossible.’
    • ‘Apart from the weather, there are several imponderables which could effect performance at the A - 1 Ring this afternoon.’
    • ‘This is a sophisticated military operation that will require a great deal of planing and there are many imponderables.’
    • ‘That didn't stop him lying awake on Monday and Tuesday night pondering the imponderables.’
    • ‘‘There are so many imponderables [about making the play-offs] there's no point in looking at it,’ he said.’
    • ‘There are just too many imponderables flashing across the economic landscape.’
    • ‘Never in recent memory has a winter campaign had so many imponderables in the mix awaiting answers.’
    • ‘‘The election has thrown up some imponderables that we just have to now manage our way through but that is the will of the people of Northern Ireland and now the two governments have to get on with it,’ he said.’
    • ‘The second type is a mystery - a question that is not answerable because it is beyond our ability to understand and predict since it depends on so many unknowns or imponderables.’
    • ‘There are so many questions, imponderables and what-ifs.’
    • ‘‘There are many imponderables there at the moment, and buyers are much more discerning about committing themselves,’ he said.’
    • ‘However, while this opportunity to hook up to broadband sounds appealing, it also underlines one of the imponderables of the current situation; exactly how much demand is there for broadband?’
    • ‘This is the big imponderable, and I think it's gravely serious.’
    • ‘These are all imponderables and much of it is down to luck in running, in the words of that immortal phrase.’


  • 1Difficult or impossible to estimate, assess, or answer.

    ‘an imponderable problem of metaphysics’
    • ‘There is the imponderable question of what will happen to the oil price, given that account must be taken of its impact not only on the domestic economy, but on the full range of trading partners.’
    • ‘I was struck by some conjunction of what can be repaired and yet remains virtually imponderable.’
    • ‘They wish that it were simple, but the balance of a successful movie is governed by imponderable universal laws and cannot be forced by formula, marketing or offering up contracts to screen gods.’
    • ‘Their superstar nuptials attract acclamation of imponderable scale, the industry falls at their feet in supplication, and the simplest family outing becomes an event of global import.’
    • ‘I don't have answers, but I do have the deep, imponderable questions that plague the world of business.’
    • ‘And honor requires, from time to time, fighting to be done for imponderable and abstract reasons.’
    • ‘Today the Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, will be contemplating the imponderable nature of morality in Taipei, the capital of Taiwan.’
    • ‘With these vague and imponderable concerns behind us, we may return to the main line of our story refreshed and unburdened of all such feckless speculation.’
    • ‘What the characters are thinking and feeling and what they are doing is often as imponderable and revelatory to them as to us.’
    • ‘‘Ask me in ten years' time,’ sighs Williams, emphasising an almost imponderable nature in the question.’
    • ‘With most of Japan's private wealth held in its banks and credit unions, the consequences of a collapse of the financial system are simply imponderable.’
    • ‘It's a film that measures the weight of a calm hand on a nervous one, the size of a fleeting glance, a gentle touch and its role amidst the imponderable power plays of sexual vulnerability.’
    • ‘The presence of so many imponderable factors necessarily renders the process a complex and imprecise one and one which is incapable of producing anything better than an approximate result.’
    • ‘At its heart, deterrence involves all of the imponderable elements of political will and decision making.’
    • ‘Piling pebbles upon the beach, the water laps against the sky, the low sound measuring time's loss, the imponderable construction of a memory.’
    • ‘Calculation of consequences is always more imponderable than deduction from principles, so the room for disagreement remains considerable.’
    • ‘Some can be answered while others remain the imponderable stuff of philosophy.’
    • ‘We appreciate that this case raises difficult problems in sentencing, but we would say the Court should not be deterred by the difficult and imponderable nature of dealing with cases such as these.’
    • ‘What remains imponderable is the percentage of those who will remain active and whether their activities will be directed at international targets.’
    • ‘It is always something imponderable, something that lies in between things.’
  • 2archaic Very light.

    • ‘Gone were the secret incantations and gothic tales of interred bodies, but the divining rod remained, now viewed as a conductor of imponderable fluids.’
    • ‘This expectation accounts for Powers's interest in imponderable fluids.’
    • ‘Low-browed individuals were deficient in the faculties that would enable them to feel the subtle attractions exercised by imponderable fluids on the rod.’
    • ‘So he accepted Empedocles elements as a kind of intermediary between this imponderable stuff and the tangible world.’