Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[in-skroo-tuh-buh l] /ɪnˈskru tə bəl/
incapable of being investigated, analyzed, or scrutinized; impenetrable.
not easily understood; mysterious; unfathomable:
an inscrutable smile.
incapable of being seen through physically; physically impenetrable:
the inscrutable depths of the ocean.
Origin of inscrutable
late Middle English
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
1. hidden, incomprehensible, undiscoverable, inexplicable.
1. comprehensible.
Synonym Study
1. See mysterious. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for inscrutably
Historical Examples
  • He looked at me, inscrutably and attentively, through his gold spectacles.

    Romance Joseph Conrad and F.M. Hueffer
  • But she herself, for a time, continued to wait, only looking up at him inscrutably.

    The Golden Bowl Henry James
  • Clare glanced at her inscrutably, and began to score the other essays.

    Regiment of Women Clemence Dane
  • He loomed at the back of her thoughts, inscrutably dark and romantic.

    The Happy End Joseph Hergesheimer
  • I insisted, but he stared at me inscrutably, and said that he had no record of the man.

  • Silently, inscrutably, the gambler dealt the ten cards, one by one.

  • Shopland smiled, inscrutably yet with the air of one vastly pleased.

    The Evil Shepherd E. Phillips Oppenheim
  • Black George continued to smile unpleasantly, the Chinaman to regard them inscrutably.

  • The powers, protecting America, inscrutably to contemporaries kept busy certain agencies that saved the union.

    The Brothers' War John Calvin Reed
  • He gazed pensively at the logs crackling on the hearth and his features were as inscrutably blank as those of the Sphinx.

    When 'Bear Cat' Went Dry Charles Neville Buck
British Dictionary definitions for inscrutably


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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for inscrutably



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
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for inscrutably

Word Value for inscrutably

Scrabble Words With Friends