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2017 Word of the Year

inscrutable

[in-skroo-tuh-buh l] /ɪnˈskru tə bəl/
adjective
1.
incapable of being investigated, analyzed, or scrutinized; impenetrable.
2.
not easily understood; mysterious; unfathomable:
an inscrutable smile.
3.
incapable of being seen through physically; physically impenetrable:
the inscrutable depths of the ocean.
Origin of inscrutable
late Middle English
1400-1450
First recorded in 1400-50; late Middle English word from Late Latin word inscrūtābilis. See in-3, scrutable
Related forms
inscrutability, inscrutableness, noun
inscrutably, adverb
Synonyms
1. hidden, incomprehensible, undiscoverable, inexplicable.
Antonyms
1. comprehensible.
Synonym Study
1. See mysterious.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for inscrutable
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Mary regarded the girl with an expression that was inscrutable when she spoke again.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • Her red lips smiled softly, and her eyes were dark and inscrutable.

    The Leopard Woman Stewart Edward White
  • The old soldiers, for some inscrutable reason, go for goose to a man.

  • The Chief Inspector stood it well, deferential but inscrutable.

    The Secret Agent Joseph Conrad
  • The image returned his unwavering gaze with inscrutable kindness.

    The Gentleman From Indiana Booth Tarkington
British Dictionary definitions for inscrutable

inscrutable

/ɪnˈskruːtəbəl/
adjective
1.
incomprehensible; mysterious or enigmatic
Derived Forms
inscrutability, inscrutableness, noun
inscrutably, adverb
Word Origin
C15: from Late Latin inscrūtābilis, from Latin in-1 + scrūtārī to examine
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 inscrutable
adj.

c.1500, from Late Latin inscrutabilis, from in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + scrutabilis, from scrutari "examine, ransack" (see scrutiny). Related: Inscrutably.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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