Definition of inscrutable in US English:



  • Impossible to understand or interpret.

    ‘Guy looked blankly inscrutable’
    • ‘The relationship between artist and subject can be inscrutable.’
    • ‘I wonder if she's holding something back, so inscrutable does she seem at times.’
    • ‘Now it is said that the inscrutable coach will have to live up to the demands placed on him by the billion people living within a fanatical football nation.’
    • ‘Their musical and personal relationship is at the same time completely open and completely inscrutable.’
    • ‘It's like a compelling bad dream whose inscrutable images persist in the traumatised moments after waking.’
    • ‘An inscrutable and incomparably powerful force permeates the Universe and binds it together.’
    • ‘Her inscrutable silence has become a canvas for projected social anxieties.’
    • ‘The real danger is from the chaotic hatred between mortals that follows the wake of the enemy, not his inscrutable agenda.’
    • ‘In the inscrutable case, the overall truth about a state of affairs is not known by anyone.’
    • ‘He didn't know why the priests had ordered it built, they had their own inscrutable reasons, he didn't really care.’
    • ‘In another brief appearance, the inscrutable South African was dispatched from the event with six holes to spare.’
    • ‘There is something inscrutable about the dragon, something that cannot be understood.’
    • ‘She had a private meeting with Bertie, who was sympathetic but inscrutable.’
    • ‘He just smiles his inscrutable smile and carries on clipping.’
    • ‘Between them they come up with a tale that is occasionally engaging, often inscrutable, and in the end simplistic.’
    • ‘Newspaper stories see the light of day for all sorts of strange and inscrutable reasons.’
    • ‘But at night when we're on the sofa he sees the inscrutable stories flickering on the box in the corner.’
    • ‘He was oddly inscrutable, like he knew what all the questions were.’
    • ‘It is not some mysterious, inscrutable relation that beliefs bear to facts, whatever they might be.’
    • ‘He understands that the poem is foremost a form of communication, and fails if it becomes inscrutable.’
    enigmatic, unreadable, impenetrable, mysterious, impossible to interpret, cryptic
    mysterious, inexplicable, unexplainable, incomprehensible, beyond comprehension, beyond understanding, impossible to understand, unintelligible, impenetrable, unfathomable, fathomless, opaque, puzzling, perplexing, baffling, bewildering, confusing, abstruse, arcane, obscure
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Late Middle English: from ecclesiastical Latin inscrutabilis, from in- ‘not’ + scrutari ‘to search’ (see scrutiny).