From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishimpossibleim‧pos‧si‧ble1 /ɪmˈpɒsəbəl $ ɪmˈpɑː-/ ●●● S2 W2 adjective 1 IMPOSSIBLEsomething that is impossible cannot happen or be done OPP possible ‘I want to speak to Mr Franks.’ ‘I’m afraid that’s impossible.’ It’s impossible to be accurate about these things. The noise made sleep impossible. Members with young children often found it impossible to attend evening meetings. It is difficult to find work these days, but for blind people it is virtually impossible. He was faced with a seemingly impossible task. It was physically impossible to get the fridge through the door. Six months ago, peace seemed an impossible dream. Such mental attitudes are difficult, if not impossible, to change.2 DIFFICULTPROBLEMa situation that is impossible is one that you cannot deal with We were in an impossible situation. Whatever we decided to do would upset someone. Helen’s refusal to cooperate put me in an impossible position. His attitude is making life impossible for the rest of the team. He was facing impossible odds.3 DIFFICULTbehaving in a very unreasonable and annoying way Oh, you’re just impossible! —impossibly adverb Some sales managers think selling abroad is impossibly difficult. —impossibility /ɪmˌpɒsəˈbɪləti $ -ˌpɑː-/ noun [countable, uncountable] One hundred percent airline security is a practical impossibility.GrammarImpossible is not used with ‘very’. You say: It was an absolutely impossible task. ✗Don’t say: It was a very impossible task.COLLOCATIONSverbsseem impossibleIt seemed impossible that he would ever recover from the injury.become impossibleAs it became darker, it became impossible for the players to see the ball.prove impossible (=be impossible because you have tried but not succeeded)It proved impossible for the two sides to reach an agreement.find something impossibleHe found it impossible to sleep because of the noise coming from next door.make something impossibleHeavy snow made travelling impossible.render something impossible formal (=make something impossible)The large number of prison guards rendered any escape impossible.adverbsabsolutely impossible (also utterly impossible formal)It is absolutely impossible to drive in these conditions.almost/nearly impossibleHe thought that winning would be almost impossible.virtually/practically impossible (=almost impossible)Getting tickets for the concert is practically impossible.well-nigh impossible formal (=almost impossible )Policing the entire coastline is well-nigh impossible.seemingly impossible (=seeming to be impossible)He managed to win the chess game from a seemingly impossible position.physically impossibleIt is physically impossible to survive for long in the desert without water.nounsan impossible job/taskHe faced the impossible task of paying back huge debts.an impossible feat (=something that is impossible to do)She achieved the seemingly impossible feat of breaking the world record.an impossible dream (=something you want, but will never happen)For a small club, winning the cup final will always be the impossible dream.impossible demandsShe was growing tired of the company’s impossible demands.phrasesit is impossible to do somethingIt is impossible to know if this story is true.difficult, if not impossible (=difficult, and perhaps impossible)Obtaining funding for the film will be difficult, if not impossible. THESAURUSimpossible something that is impossible cannot happen or be doneIt’s impossible to get a taxi around here.At times, finding a job felt like an impossible task.impractical something that is impractical is too expensive, takes too much time, is too difficult etc and therefore it is not sensible to try to do itIt’s a nice idea, but it’s totally impractical.We cannot all just stop using our cars - that would be completely impractical.an impractical suggestionout of the question used when saying that something is completely impossible, especially because it is not allowedIt’s out of the question for you to go alone.there’s no way informal used when saying that you think something is completely impossibleThere’s no way we can get to the airport in less than an hour.inconceivable impossible to imagine or believeIt seemed inconceivable that there could be an end to the fighting in Northern Ireland.unthinkable impossible to imagine or believe – used especially about something that seems very shocking to peopleIn those days it was unthinkable for a lady to work outside the home.unattainable impossible to achievean unattainable goalVictory seemed unattainable.it can’t be done spoken used when saying very definitely that something is impossibleI’m afraid it can’t be done.
Examples from the Corpusimpossible• We're supposed to do all this work by tomorrow, but it's impossible.• You're impossible!• It was tough, tough work, but not impossible.• Many fear that peace is now impossible.• She's impossible! Even when I offer to help her she always find some reason to complain.• It is mathematically impossible for any Democratic rival to overhaul Clinton in the primary process.• Her back injury has made it impossible for her to play tennis anymore.• The street was narrow and it was impossible for the two buses to pass.• ""The police suspect John.'' ""But that's impossible. He was with us the whole day.''• Sometimes an abortion seems like the only way out of an impossible situation.• an impossible task• It's a seemingly impossible task.• It was impossible that anyone could have survived the crash.• Another non-solution is to sign a treaty and then forget about it in a few years or declare it impossible to achieve.• In the eighteenth century it seemed impossible to build a barn without creating a work of art.• It is possible to find safe harbor but nearly impossible to do so without a few blow-ups.• When people leave prison, they often find it impossible to get a job.• It was almost impossible to get some rest.• Dan's impossible to live with when he's sick.• It is impossible to take a complex problem and rationally unravel the mess into logical interacting pieces.• The twins are so alike that it's impossible to tell them apart.It’s impossible to• He'd call it doing research. It's impossible to discuss anything with him.• The weirdest car must be Nissan's Chappo city car. It's impossible to ignore-for all the wrong reasons.• You know the kind of energy you have to expend to be that? It's impossible to me.• I don't know. It's impossible to tell now.put ... in an impossible position• It would put them in an impossible position if a legally-binding Living Will demanded what they considered unethical or bad medical practice.impossibleimpossible2 noun → the impossible
Examples from the Corpusimpossible• Somehow without meaning to, she found that she had done the impossible for her: she had memorized that poem.