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See more synonyms for unspeakable on Thesaurus.com
  1. not speakable; that may not be spoken.
  2. exceeding the power of speech; unutterable; inexpressible; indescribable.
  3. inexpressibly bad or objectionable.
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Origin of unspeakable

1350–1400; Middle English unspekeabill. See un-1, speakable
Related formsun·speak·a·ble·ness, nounun·speak·a·bly, adverb


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Examples from the Web for unspeakably

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • It was unspeakably humiliating to be told that she had overstepped her authority.

  • He slouched and shuffled in his walk, and he was unspeakably dirty.

    St. Martin's Summer

    Rafael Sabatini

  • The explanation was at once obvious and unspeakably foolish.


    Louis Joseph Vance

  • They bored him unspeakably, and the performance lasted half an hour.

    Aunt Rachel

    David Christie Murray

  • He says the name of our yacht, Hittie Magin, is unspeakably vulgar.

British Dictionary definitions for unspeakably


  1. incapable of expression in wordsunspeakable ecstasy
  2. indescribably bad or evil
  3. not to be utteredunspeakable thoughts
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Derived Formsunspeakableness, noununspeakably, 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 unspeakably



c.1400, "inexpressible," from un- (1) "not" + speakable (see speak). Meaning "indescribably bad or wicked" is recorded from 1831. Related: Unspeakably.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper