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unspeakable ‎(comparative more unspeakable, superlative most unspeakable)

  1. Incapable of being spoken or uttered; unutterable; ineffable; inexpressible.
  2. Unfit or not permitted to be spoken or described.
    • 1916, James Joyce, A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man, ch. 3,
      The miser will remember his hoard of gold, the robber his ill-gotten wealth, the angry and revengeful and merciless murderers their deeds of blood and violence in which they revelled, the impure and adulterous the unspeakable and filthy pleasures in which they delighted.
  3. Extremely bad or objectionable.
    an unspeakable fool
    an unspeakable play
    • 1926, H.P. Lovecraft, The Outsider,
      Yet to my horror I saw in its eaten-away and bone-revealing outlines a leering, abhorrent travesty on the human shape; and in its mouldy, disintegrating apparel an unspeakable quality that chilled me even more.


Derived terms[edit]



  • unspeakable in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913
  • unspeakable” in Dictionary.com Unabridged, v1.0.1, Lexico Publishing Group, 2006.
  • unspeakable” in Microsoft's Encarta World English Dictionary, North American Edition (2007)
  • "unspeakable" in the Wordsmyth Dictionary-Thesaurus (Wordsmyth, 2002)
  • "unspeakable" in Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary (Cambridge University Press, 2007)
  • unspeakable” in the Compact Oxford English Dictionary (Oxford University Press, 2007)
  • "unspeakable" at Rhymezone (Datamuse, 2006).
  • Oxford English Dictionary, second edition (1989)



un- +‎ speak +‎ -able


unspeakable ‎(comparative mair unspeakable, superlative maist unspeakable)

  1. unspeakable