Meaning of impossible in English:


Pronunciation /ɪmˈpɒsɪbl/

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  • 1Not able to occur, exist, or be done.

    ‘a seemingly impossible task’
    • ‘it was almost impossible to keep up with him’
    • ‘Drug use has become so widespread and accepted that it is impossible to enforce existing laws.’
    • ‘Representing such a lifetime's work on a single disc is a near impossible task.’
    • ‘Synthesising all of the various glycoforms in the laboratory would be an almost impossible task.’
    • ‘Even tasks I have done a million times alone become impossible feats when others are watching.’
    • ‘She also can only pick things up with her right hand and everyday tasks such as opening a bottle are impossible.’
    • ‘She told a newspaper how even simple tasks like buying a pint of milk have become impossible for her.’
    • ‘He points out that in Bangalore, it is well-nigh impossible to get a hotel room.’
    • ‘She told me that what I was suggesting was physically impossible to achieve.’
    • ‘We'll only give in when it becomes mathematically impossible to catch them.’
    • ‘Could he have pulled off the seemingly impossible feat of winning a fourth consecutive Gold Cup?’
    • ‘While canvassing, it's impossible to tell which way people will vote.’
    • ‘I wanted to be sympathetic to their experience, but found it impossible.’
    • ‘Not being nervous is, of course, probably impossible under the circumstances.’
    • ‘Insufficient archaeological evidence makes it impossible at the moment to answer any of these questions with confidence.’
    • ‘An impossible dream, I told myself, but it was what I wanted.’
    • ‘Evidently it was difficult but not impossible to achieve the rank of officer.’
    • ‘For this reason a refund was impossible, a situation which we regard as very unfair.’
    • ‘It is impossible to know what the real situation is, so we assume the worst.’
    • ‘Within a few years making such a film became difficult: it would be impossible today.’
    • ‘To determine their views is a difficult task, no doubt, but not entirely impossible.’
    not possible, beyond the bounds of possibility, out of the question, not worth considering
    unattainable, unachievable, unobtainable, hopeless, impractical, implausible, far-fetched, impracticable, unworkable
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    1. 1.1Very difficult to deal with.
      ‘she was in an impossible situation’
      • ‘Those of you in that impossible situation have all my empathy, and best wishes for a happy resolution.’
      • ‘Clergy and parents are being put through impossible situations each and every year.’
      • ‘He added it would put people from Pool in an impossible situation.’
      • ‘The entire programme was based around the index, so it appeared to be an impossible situation.’
      • ‘The situation is impossible, but my love for the country is too great for me to leave.’
      • ‘That wrong knowing of the nature of the world puts us in an impossible situation.’
      • ‘For some people such a situation might be unacceptable or even an impossible state of affairs.’
      unbearable, intolerable, unendurable, unsustainable
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    2. 1.2 informal (of a person) very unreasonable.
      • ‘what an arrogant impossible fool’
      • ‘He was confusing enough when he was alive but now, when he's dead, he's impossible.’
      unmanageable, intractable, recalcitrant, wayward, objectionable, difficult, demanding, awkward, perverse, ungovernable
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Middle English from Old French, or from Latin impossibilis, from in- ‘not’ + possibilis (see possible).