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[in-ek-spli-kuh-buhl, in-ik-splik-uh-buhl]
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  1. not explicable; incapable of being accounted for or explained.
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Origin of inexplicable

First recorded in 1375–1425; late Middle English word from Latin word inexplicābilis. See in-3, explicable
Related formsin·ex·pli·ca·bil·i·ty, in·ex·pli·ca·ble·ness, nounin·ex·pli·ca·bly, adverb


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for inexplicable

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • By an inexplicable insight the child seemed to know that he was dying.

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • Yet something new, inexplicable, thwarted her and changed the simplicity of her passion.

    The Dream

    Emile Zola

  • Her anguish was redoubled by this mysterious and inexplicable struggle within her.

    The Dream

    Emile Zola

  • But that night, all at once, she felt her heart was softened by some inexplicable happiness.

    The Dream

    Emile Zola

  • This inexplicable mystery was revealed to Joseph in a dream.

British Dictionary definitions for inexplicable



  1. not capable of explanation; unexplainable
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Derived Formsinexplicability, inexplicableness, inexplainability or inexplainableness, nouninexplicably or inexplainably, 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

Word Origin and History for inexplicable


early 15c., from Middle French inexplicable or directly from Latin inexplicabilis "that cannot be unfolded or disentangled, very intricate," figuratively, "inexplicable," from in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + explicabilis "that may be explained" (see explicable). Related: Inexplicably.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper