[in-ser-moun-tuh-buh l]


incapable of being surmounted, passed over, or overcome; insuperable: an insurmountable obstacle.

Origin of insurmountable

First recorded in 1690–1700; in-3 + surmountable
Related formsin·sur·mount·a·bil·i·ty, in·sur·mount·a·ble·ness, nounin·sur·mount·a·bly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for insurmountable

Contemporary Examples of insurmountable

Historical Examples of insurmountable

  • He had dragged himself this far, and reached an insurmountable obstacle.

  • Unused to encounter difficulty, he for a time imagined them insurmountable.


    William Godwin

  • The difficulties that are before us appear to me insurmountable.


    William Godwin

  • This would be a barrier the more, an insurmountable barrier between her and him.

    Doctor Pascal

    Emile Zola

  • It appeared then that for some reason this was an insurmountable objection.

    Tales From Two Hemispheres

    Hjalmar Hjorth Boysen

British Dictionary definitions for insurmountable



incapable of being overcome; insuperable
Derived Formsinsurmountability or insurmountableness, nouninsurmountably, 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 insurmountable

1690s, from in- (1) "not, opposite of" + surmountable (see surmount). Related: Insurmountably.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper