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[in-sol-yuh-buh l] /ɪnˈsɒl yə bəl/
incapable of being dissolved:
insoluble salts.
incapable of being solved or explained:
an insoluble problem.
Origin of insoluble
1350-1400; < Latin insolūbilis; replacing Middle English insolible < Middle French insoluble < L. See in-3, soluble
Related forms
insolubility, insolubleness, noun
insolubly, adverb
semi-insoluble, adjective
Can be confused
insoluble, insolvable, unsolvable. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for insoluble
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The result was boiled for some time in water, and the insoluble part collected.

    The Action of Medicines in the System Frederick William Headland
  • These, insoluble in water, amounted to 93.94 per cent, of the fat taken.

  • He adduces the authority of theologians, who appear to recognize the insoluble nature of the objections against the Mysteries.

    Theodicy G. W. Leibniz
  • How to reconcile these discrepancies seemed an insoluble problem.

    Life and sport in China Oliver G. Ready
  • It reaches the market in a fine powder, which is insoluble in water.

    Vegetable Dyes Ethel M. Mairet
  • And Bilibin unwrinkled his temple, feeling that the dilemma was insoluble.

    War and Peace Leo Tolstoy
  • Because that would mean recognizing, fully and consciously, that the problem was insoluble.

    Lost in Translation Larry M. Harris
British Dictionary definitions for insoluble


incapable of being dissolved; incapable of forming a solution, esp in water
incapable of being solved
Derived Forms
insolubility, insolubleness, noun
insolubly, 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 insoluble

late 14c., "unable to be loosened," from Latin insolubilis "that cannot be loosened," from in- "not" (see in- (1)) + solubilis (see soluble). Figurative use, of problems, etc., is from late 14c.

It was a tacit conviction of the learned during the Middle Ages that no such thing as an insoluble question existed. There might be matters that presented serious difficulties, but if you could lay them before the right man -- some Arab in Spain, for instance, omniscient by reason of studies into the details of which it was better not to inquire -- he would give you a conclusive answer. The real trouble was only to find your man. [Gertrude Bell, "The Desert and the Sown," 1907]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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insoluble in Medicine

insoluble in·sol·u·ble (ĭn-sŏl'yə-bəl)
Not soluble.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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insoluble in Science
Not capable of being fully dissolved. Fats and oils are insoluble in water.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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