[pas-uh-buhl, pah-suh-]


capable of being passed through, beyond, or over; fit to be traversed, penetrated, crossed, etc., as a road, forest, or stream.
adequate; acceptable: a passable knowledge of French.
capable of being circulated legally or having a valid currency, as a coin.
capable of being or liable to be ratified or enacted: passable legislation.

Origin of passable

1375–1425; late Middle English < Middle French; see pass, -able
Related formspass·a·ble·ness, nounun·pass·a·ble, adjective
Can be confusedpassable passible

Synonyms for passable Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for unpassable

Historical Examples of unpassable

  • It was a soul-stirring sight, and one of unpassable grandeur.

  • But always there is a barrier between her and me; a barrier impalpable yet unpassable.

    The Red Symbol

    John Ironside

  • The crossing would have been laborsome for a horse; for an automobile it was unpassable.

  • A day's march "through most unpassable rocks and cliffs" brought them to within sight of the island of San Juan at the east end.

  • The unpassable danger of last night was only difficulty in the morning, and shakily and in fear he overcame it.


    Emily Hilda Young

British Dictionary definitions for unpassable



adequate, fair, or acceptablea passable speech
(of an obstacle) capable of being passed or crossed
(of currency) valid for general circulation
(of a proposed law) able to be ratified or enacted
Derived Formspassableness, noun
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 unpassable



early 15c., "that may be crossed," from pass (v.) + -able, or from Old French passable "fordable, affording passage" (14c.). Sense of "tolerable" is first attested late 15c. Related: Passably.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper