[uhn-kuh n-troh-luh-buh l]
  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. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for uncontrollables


  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 uncontrollables



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