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EnglishEdit

Alternative formsEdit

EtymologyEdit

From Old French impossible, from Latin impossibilis, from in- (not) + possibilis (possible), from possum (to be able) + suffix -ibilis (-able).

PronunciationEdit

  • (UK) IPA(key): /ɪmˈpɒsɪbəl/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: im‧pos‧si‧ble

AdjectiveEdit

impossible (comparative more impossible, superlative most impossible)

  1. Not possible; not able to be done or happen.
    • 1610-11?, Shakespeare, The Tempest, Act II, scene i:
      Antonio: What impossible matter will he make easy next?
      Sebastian: I think he will carry this island home in his pocket and give it his son for an apple.
      Antonio : And sowing the kernels of it in the sea bring forth more islands.
    • 1787, “The History of Europe”, in The Annual Register, or A View of the History, Politics, and Literature, for the Years 1784 and 1785, volume XXVII, London: Printed by J[ames] Dodsley, in Pall-Mall, OCLC 874176698, chapter VIII, page 134, column 1:
      It was impoſſible that the queen of France [Marie Antoinette] ſhould not be deeply affected by a conteſt, which ſo cloſely involved her neareſt and deareſt connections, and threatened ſo immediate and perhaps irreparable a breach of the harmony and friendſhip ſubſiſting between them.
    • 1865, Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
      Nothing is impossible, only impassible.
    • 13 March 1962, John F. Kennedy
      Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.
    • 2013 June 28, Joris Luyendijk, “Our banks are out of control”, in The Guardian Weekly, volume 189, number 3, page 21:
      Seeing the British establishment struggle with the financial sector is like watching an alcoholic […].  Until 2008 there was denial over what finance had become. When a series of bank failures made this impossible, there was widespread anger, leading to the public humiliation of symbolic figures.
    It is difficult, if not impossible, to memorize 20,000 consecutive numbers.
    Sarah thinks that nothing is impossible because things can always somehow happen.
  2. (colloquial, of a person) Very difficult to deal with.
    You never listen to a word I say – you're impossible!
  3. (mathematics, dated) imaginary
    impossible quantities, or imaginary numbers

SynonymsEdit

AntonymsEdit

Derived termsEdit

TranslationsEdit

NounEdit

impossible (plural impossibles)

  1. (obsolete) an impossibility
    • Late 14th century: “Madame,” quod he, “this were an impossible!” — Geoffrey Chaucer, ‘The Franklin's Tale’, Canterbury Tales

TranslationsEdit


CatalanEdit

EtymologyEdit

From Latin impossibilis, equivalent to in- +‎ possible.

PronunciationEdit

AdjectiveEdit

impossible (masculine and feminine plural impossibles)

  1. impossible

FrenchEdit

EtymologyEdit

From im- +‎ possible.

PronunciationEdit

AdjectiveEdit

impossible (plural impossibles)

  1. impossible

Further readingEdit


Middle FrenchEdit

AdjectiveEdit

impossible m, f (plural impossibles)

  1. impossible