• WordNet 3.6
    • adj inconceivable totally unlikely
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • a Inconceivable Not conceivable; incapable of being conceived by the mind; not explicable by the human intellect, or by any known principles or agencies; incomprehensible; as, it is inconceivable to us how the will acts in producing muscular motion. "It is inconceivable to me that a spiritual substance should represent an extended figure.""The inconceivableness of a quality existing without any subject to possess it."
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • inconceivable Incapable of being conceived, or realized in the imagination; incredible; inexplicable.
    • inconceivable An expression which conveys no conception whatever, but is mere gibberish, is not called inconceivable, but unintelligible. The word inconceivable (see also unconceivable) is used in the following senses in philosophy: Involving a contradiction in terms, such as the idea of a non-existent being.
    • inconceivable Unacceptable to the mind because involving a violation of laws believed to be well established by positive evidence, as a perpetual motion.
    • inconceivable Unimaginable by man on account of an inseparable association, although not perhaps involving any contradiction nor even physically impossible, as the perception of color without extension.
    • inconceivable Unimaginable to a particular person from novelty, as the idea that parallel straight lines meet at infinity.
    • inconceivable Capable of being conceived only by a negative or relaive notion, such as the idea of infinity.
    • inconceivable Incredible; not to be imagined as believed in by any man, as the supposition of an event undetermined by a cause.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • adj Inconceivable in-kon-sēv′a-bl that cannot be conceived by the mind: incomprehensible: involving a contradiction in terms: physically impossible
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  • Joseph Addison
    “What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity. These are but trifles, to be sure; but, scattered along life's pathway, the good they do is inconceivable.”
  • Andre Maurois
    “A marriage without conflicts is almost as inconceivable as a nation without crises.”
  • Joseph Conrad
    “There is something haunting in the light of the moon; it has all the dispassionateness of a disembodied soul, and something of its inconceivable mystery.”
  • W. S. Gilbert
    “My family pride is something inconceivable. I can't help it. I was born sneering.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Pref. in-, not + conceivable,: cf. F. inconcevable,


In literature:

The jumble of these rays is almost inconceivable.
"Autobiography of a YOGI" by Paramhansa Yogananda
She had a weak pipe of a voice and inconceivabilities of ignorance.
"The Reverberator" by Henry James
Kirk Alloway is inconceivably small, considering how large a space it fills in our imagination before we see it.
"Our Old Home" by Nathaniel Hawthorne
The thing was inconceivable!
"Mary Marston" by George MacDonald
If he had sung badly before, his performance now was inconceivable.
"The Last Galley" by Arthur Conan Doyle
Does this sound inconceivable to you, my friends, or can you conceive of this?
"Dorothy's Mystical Adventures in Oz" by Robert J. Evans
In an inconceivably short while, I had reached an altitude of many hundred feet.
"The House on the Borderland" by William Hope Hodgson
Inconceivable and monstrous truth!
"The Desert of Wheat" by Zane Grey
It was inconceivable, and yet the converse was also inconceivable.
"Hilda Lessways" by Arnold Bennett
Judges without training handle laws without precedents, and new measures are passed and abandoned with almost inconceivable levity.
"Letters of Travel (1892-1913)" by Rudyard Kipling

In poetry:

There is a might inspiring
Each consecrated word,
That speaks the inconceivable
And holy will of God.
"The Prayer" by Mikhail Yuryevich Lermontov
Whence from the trivial flux of Things,
Rise inconceived miscarryings,
Outrageous but immortal, shown,
Of Her great love, to me alone…
"The Playmate" by Rudyard Kipling
From that inconceivable height----
O inward eyes that saw and ears that heard,
Spiritual swift wings that stirred
In that warm-flushing air and unendurable light;
"The Fall" by John Freeman
Inconceivable Nature! these, thy inert creatures,
With their sphinx-like stature, are of man the teachers;
Silent, secret, passive, endless as the ages,
'Gainst their forces massive fruitlessly he rages.
"A Pagan Reverie" by Frances Fuller Victor
I want the fine, kindling wine-sap of spring,
gold, and of inconceivably fine, quintessential brightness,
rare almost as beams, yet overwhelmingly potent,
strong like the greatest force of world-balancing.
"Craving For Spring" by D H Lawrence

In news:

It seems almost inconceivable that Philly's supernova celeb chef, Jose Garces, has yet to tally a four-bell restaurant.
Along with accusations of bigotry, the organization's attorney addresses the issue of Nazanin Boniadi, saying it is inconceivable that Tom Cruise would have trouble getting a girlfriend.
Miller's notion that DDT can be applied "carefully and sparingly" to fight mosquitoes and other disease-carrying insects is inconceivable.
An Elmhurst woman who drugged her young son reportedly in an attempt to kill him was sentenced to 20 years in prison Monday by DuPage County judge who said he found her actions almost inconceivable.
Going on the heat Fishbone delivered to Putnam Den on July 5, it's almost inconceivable to think that these guys have been at it since 1979.
Inconceivable says writer William Goldman.
On BET 'public service' spot, Eddie Bernice Johnson says GOP's opposition to ObamaCare is ' inconceivable .
For those who thought a 'Princess Bride' reunion was inconceivable , think again.
Sources Say It's ' Inconceivable ' That Chanel Isn't Thinking About Karl Lagerfeld's Succession.
Cuts to higher ed are ' inconceivable '.
The Almost Inconceivable , But Don't Be Intimidated.
Inconceivable , you say.
The cruel inconceivability of a silent god.
Americans Wake Up to Islamism An energetic public reaction to something like the Ground Zero mosque would have been inconceivable a decade ago.
Inconceivable until yesterday, but there it was, right after Brian Westbrook sealed the Eagles' 27-14 win over the Atlanta Falcons with a 39-yard run into the end zone.

In science:

It is inconceivable to design a modern operating system or compiler if this fundamental requirement is not met.
Function Interface Models for Hardware Compilation: Types, Signatures, Protocols
The modern world is inconceivable without it.
Do We Need a Scientific Revolution?
Let us immediately add that we find it not at all inconceivable that there is some easy way around this problem, allowing to apply the techniques used for the spectral analysis of H to determine the asymptotics of (1.1).
Approach to ground state and time-independent photon bound for massless spin-boson models
It is this fundamental point that makes it inconceivable that the final form of M theory could be expressed in terms of any particular classical background.
Towards a background independent approach to M theory
It is a great challenge either to show that inflation really occurs as a consequence of fundamental physics, and to find an identity and a torso for the inflaton and its potential; or else to replace it with something different (this is still not inconceivable, perhaps, since the “evidence” is rather generic).
Future Summary