[ in-skroo-tuh-buhl ]
See synonyms for: inscrutableinscrutabilityinscrutableness on

  1. incapable of being investigated, analyzed, or scrutinized; impenetrable.

  2. not easily understood; mysterious; unfathomable: an inscrutable smile.

  1. incapable of being seen through physically; physically impenetrable: the inscrutable depths of the ocean.

Origin of inscrutable

First recorded in 1400–50; late Middle English word from Late Latin word inscrūtābilis.See in-3, scrutable

synonym study For inscrutable

1. See mysterious.

Other words for inscrutable

Opposites for inscrutable

Other words from inscrutable

  • in·scru·ta·bil·i·ty, in·scru·ta·ble·ness, noun
  • in·scru·ta·bly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use inscrutable in a sentence

  • Jubal Clenk dropped on one knee in front of the little boy, and the two were inscrutably eyeing each other at close quarters.

    The Ordeal | Charles Egbert Craddock
  • Then abruptly he turned to his brother who was listening inscrutably on the other side of the table.

    The Lamp in the Desert | Ethel M. Dell
  • Raffles stared at me inscrutably for some moments, and for some more at the great white numbers over the grand-stand.

    A Thief in the Night | E. W. Hornung

British Dictionary definitions for inscrutable


/ (ɪnˈskruːtəbəl) /

  1. incomprehensible; mysterious or enigmatic

Origin of inscrutable

C15: from Late Latin inscrūtābilis, from Latin in- 1 + scrūtārī to examine

Derived forms of inscrutable

  • inscrutability or inscrutableness, noun
  • inscrutably, 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