Share this entry
incurable Line breaks: in|cur¦able
Pronunciation: /ɪnˈkjʊərəb(ə)l/

Definition of incurable in English:


1(Of a sick person or a disease) not able to be cured: even when the sick are incurable they are never untreatable incurable diseases
More example sentences
  • But the claim that a product can cure an incurable disease should sound alarms.
  • In this week's program we hear the personal stories of three people who have been struck down with the incurable illness Motor Neurone Disease.
  • This predictability of the dying phase is not always as clear in other chronic incurable diseases.
terminal, fatal, deadly, mortal;
chronic, persistent, long-standing, constantly recurring, long-term
1.1(Of a person or behaviour) unable to be changed: an incurable optimist
More example sentences
  • Hughes is well cast as the sympathetic, Candide-like Simon, an incurable optimist who talks about hopelessness without quite grasping the concept himself.
  • There are signs of improvement, but only an incurable optimist would conclude that the game is in rude health.
  • ‘I find most skeptics to be incurable optimists,’ Hyde continues.
inveterate, dyed-in-the-wool, confirmed, entrenched, established, long-established, long-standing, deep-rooted, diehard, complete, absolute, utter, thorough, thoroughgoing, out-and-out, true blue, through and through;
firm, unshakeable, staunch, steadfast, committed, devoted, dedicated, loyal, faithful, unswerving, unwavering, unfaltering;
unashamed, unapologetic, unrepentant, incorrigible, hopeless, beyond hope;
North American  full-bore
archaic arrant
rare right-down


Back to top  
A person who cannot be cured.
Example sentences
  • The hospital - which has more than 2,000 fundraisers - was first opened as a cancer pavilion and home for incurables in 1892, but was renamed The Christie Hospital in 1901 in recognition of the pioneering work of both Mr and Mrs Christie.
  • Triage will take one look at me and stick me with the rest of the incurables.
  • Showing little progress and imposing a burden on educators and their resources, the incurables were gradually abandoned in favor of those who showed more promise.


Pronunciation: /ɪnkjʊərəˈbɪlɪti/
Example sentences
  • The increased levels of depression and anxiety around recurrence of breast cancer highlight the adverse effect of this event on women's mental health, which signals incurability and possible physical burden.
  • Three years later, hobbling with knee bandages and a mindset of incurability, I was directed by a colleague to a spiritual healer in a back street in Cambridge.
  • All too often, quality of life is neither protected nor supported adequately between the stage of recognized incurability and death.
Pronunciation: /ɪnˈkjʊərəbli/
[as submodifier]: incurably ill patients
More example sentences
  • Doubtless he would tell me that I am simply upset about my father being incurably ill, and that as his daughter I am simply expressing displaced anger.
  • However, when it comes to an incurably ill adult who has a voice and a will of his or her own, these human rights are apparently taken away.
  • As a result, evidence of depression is often overlooked in ill or disabled persons who are suicidal, and some incurably ill or disabled persons experience pressure to refuse life-prolonging medical treatment.


Middle English: from Old French, or from late Latin incurabilis, from in- 'not' + curabilis (see curable).

Definition of incurable in:
Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources