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[im-prak-ti-kuh-buh l] /ɪmˈpræk tɪ kə bəl/
not practicable; incapable of being put into practice with the available means:
an impracticable plan.
unsuitable for practical use or purposes, as a device or material.
(of ground, places, etc.) impassable.
(of persons) hard to deal with because of stubbornness, stupidity, etc.
Origin of impracticable
First recorded in 1645-55; im-2 + practicable
Related forms
impracticability, impracticableness, noun
impracticably, adverb
Can be confused
impossible, impracticable, impractical, improbable. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for impracticable
Historical Examples
  • That mountain wall, impracticable as it seems, we have to scale.

    The Roof of France Matilda Betham-Edwards
  • The advice was good, but in the present temper of the army it was felt to be impracticable.

  • He was altogether splendid, massive, overpowering, and impracticable.

    Little Dorrit Charles Dickens
  • Flight was humiliating and dreadful, but to remain in England was impracticable.

  • The ideal is as impracticable as it is puerile and retrograde.

  • But very soon it was found that such tactics were, in the main, impracticable.

    The Fiery Totem Argyll Saxby
  • They dismissed me as impracticable, and made me garde-chasse; and they were right, too.

  • So sudden, so impetuous was the encounter, all effort to prevent it was impracticable.

    Jack Hinton Charles James Lever
  • This was impracticable without the support of the French court.

  • Perhaps I was asking what was impracticable, and it is well for me that it was so.

    Apologia Pro Vita Sua John Henry Cardinal Newman
British Dictionary definitions for impracticable


incapable of being put into practice or accomplished; not feasible
unsuitable for a desired use; unfit
an archaic word for intractable
Derived Forms
impracticability, impracticableness, noun
impracticably, 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 impracticable

"incapable of being done," 1670s, from assimilated form of in- (1) "not, opposite of" + practicable. Earlier in a sense of "impassable" (1650s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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