Definition of impenetrable in English:


Syllabification: im·pen·e·tra·ble
Pronunciation: /imˈpenətrəb(ə)l


1Impossible to pass through or enter: a dark, impenetrable forest
More example sentences
  • To my horror though, I did not catch myself upon hitting the wall, but proceeded to pass through it into impenetrable darkness.
  • So the Romans decided it was not the primitive barbarians known as the Caledonii who had defeated them, but the vast impenetrable forest covering the country now known as Scotland.
  • The island is full of impenetrable virgin forest ill-suited to bikes, leaving the last leg to be completed on foot.
impassable, unpassable, inaccessible, unnavigable, untraversable; dense, thick, overgrown
archaic thickset
1.1 Physics (Of matter) incapable of occupying the same space as other matter at the same time.
impervious, impermeable, indestructible, solid, thick, unyielding; impregnable, inviolable, invulnerable, unassailable, unpierceable
informal bulletproof
2Impossible to understand: impenetrable interviews with French intellectuals
More example sentences
  • Music industry insiders tend to litter their conversation with talk of turnover, market share and the impenetrable jargon of contract negotiations.
  • The wording of the document is really very easy to understand; it is not written in the usual impenetrable verbiage of the Treaties.
  • It misfires because almost every page of it is weighed down by nearly impenetrable academic jargon.


late Middle English: via French from Latin impenetrabilis, from in- 'not' + penetrabilis 'able to be pierced', from the verb penetrare (see penetrate).



Pronunciation: /-ˌpenətrəˈbilitē/
More example sentences
  • The problems of secrecy, impenetrability, accountability, and representativeness, which have long been a focus for concern within the Community, are not addressed simply by giving added powers to the European Parliament.
  • The dizzying power struggles in the household contribute to a plot that starts out pointedly enigmatic, and flirts with chaos and impenetrability before resolving itself into gentle ambiguity.
  • Modern man among vast natural expanses, exhilarating waterfalls next to calm cherry blossoms, and the impenetrability of a forest alongside the openness of a bare field are some examples of the contrasts pictured.


More example sentences
  • But, whereas many people fear it as some kind of unapproachably dense and impenetrably difficult cornerstone of the Western canon, few seem to realise that it's actually very funny - hilarious at points, even.
  • Never mind the impenetrably named programs, what about the stuff that really matters: letters, music, video, e-mails, and all those useful nuggets picked up from the web?
  • Since that opening, in 1985, a system of arts funding has developed that is impenetrably complex, often manifestly unfair, and always unaccountable.

Definition of impenetrable in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day fioritura
Pronunciation: fɪˌɔːrɪˈt(j)ʊərə
an embellishment of a melody...