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[im-pas-uh-buh l, -pah-suh-] /ɪmˈpæs ə bəl, -ˈpɑ sə-/
not passable; not allowing passage over, through, along, etc.:
Heavy snow made the roads impassable.
unable to be surmounted:
an impassable obstacle to further negotiations.
(of currency) unable to be circulated:
He tore the bill in half, making it impassable.
Origin of impassable
First recorded in 1560-70; im-2 + passable
Related forms
impassability, impassableness, noun
impassably, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for impassable
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Come, the hedges of Nature are not as impassable as the hedges of man.

    The Book of Khalid Ameen Rihani
  • It was, to her, like an impassable rampart, which shut off her past.

  • In the same way too the Parthenius is impassable, which you will reach if you cross the Halys.

    Anabasis Xenophon
  • How impassable was the plain, had we failed to conquer their cavalry!

    Anabasis Xenophon
  • She looked to the right and left The forest walls were impassable.

    The Hound From The North Ridgwell Cullum
  • And on one side of her the flames commingled so as to be impassable.

    The Golden Woman Ridgwell Cullum
British Dictionary definitions for impassable


(of terrain, roads, etc) not able to be travelled through or over
Derived Forms
impassability, impassableness, noun
impassably, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for impassable

"that cannot be passed," 1560s, from im- + passable.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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