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[uhn-men-shuh-nuh-buh l] /ʌnˈmɛn ʃə nə bəl/
not mentionable; inappropriate, unfit, or improper for mention, as in polite conversation; unspeakable.
something that is not to be mentioned:
That subject was classed among the unmentionables.
  1. undergarments.
  2. (formerly) trousers or breeches.
Origin of unmentionable
First recorded in 1820-30; un-1 + mentionable
Related forms
unmentionableness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for unmentionable
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Why the unmentionable mischief do you waste your energies, singing like that at a rehearsal?

    The Dominant Strain Anna Chapin Ray
  • Even their quite mentionable episodes had an unmentionable air.

    Three Plays by Brieux Eugne Brieux
  • We knew suddenly that this place was left from the unmentionable Times.

    Anthem Ayn Rand
  • We both knew it without words: this house was left from the unmentionable Times.

    Anthem Ayn Rand
  • What kind of world did they have, the men of the unmentionable Times?

    Anthem Ayn Rand
  • What the unmentionable to ears polite, do you think I want with rouge?

    David Copperfield Charles Dickens
  • But what in the name of all that was unmentionable was she doing in the Gloating Chamber?

    Death of a B.E.M. Berkeley Livingston
British Dictionary definitions for unmentionable


  1. unsuitable or forbidden as a topic of conversation
  2. (as noun): the unmentionable
Derived Forms
unmentionableness, noun
unmentionably, 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 unmentionable

1837, from un- (1) "not" + mentionable. Unmentionables "trousers" is attested from 1823; meaning "underwear" is recorded from 1910.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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