[uhn-kuh n-troh-luh-buh l]
See more synonyms for uncontrollable on Thesaurus.com
  1. something, as an obligation, that cannot be controlled, reduced, or dispensed with: the uncontrollables in the new federal budget.

Origin of uncontrollable

First recorded in 1570–80; un-1 + control + -able
Related formsun·con·trol·la·bly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for uncontrollable

Contemporary Examples of uncontrollable

Historical Examples of uncontrollable

  • As if giving way to an uncontrollable impulse, he opened it a little.

    The Secret Agent

    Joseph Conrad

  • Tom, in uncontrollable temper, raised his hand and struck him.

    The Channings

    Mrs. Henry Wood

  • I was rather vexed at this uncontrollable outburst, and I continued my explanation.

    My Double Life

    Sarah Bernhardt

  • Here, for the present, I stop in sheer and uncontrollable disgust.

  • Then, as if obeying an uncontrollable impulse, she came toward him.

    Fair Harbor

    Joseph Crosby Lincoln

British Dictionary definitions for uncontrollable


  1. incapable of being controlled or managed
Derived Formsuncontrollability or uncontrollableness, noununcontrollably, 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 uncontrollable

1570s, "irrefutable," from un- (1) "not" + controllable. From 1590s as "not subject to authority;" meaning "that cannot be restrained" is from 1640s. Related: Uncontrollably.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper