insurmountable

The adjective insurmountable describes some barrier that is incapable of being overcome. The Great Wall of China was meant to be an insurmountable deterrent to would-be invaders.

Although the adjective insurmountable can be used to describe an actual physical barrier, it most often refers to a less tangible challenge. "The runner was disheartened because her competitor had an insurmountable lead in the race." "Because of insurmountable difficulties, the school's fall party had to be canceled. The water heater burst, raining gallons of water down on the gym, and flooding it. Since it was not a swimming party, the school wasn't able to clean up the mess in time to host the party."

Definitions of insurmountable
  1. adjective
    not capable of being surmounted or overcome
    insurmountable disadvantages”
    synonyms: unsurmountable
    unconquerable
    not capable of being conquered or vanquished or overcome
    impossible
    not capable of occurring or being accomplished or dealt with
    insuperable, unconquerable
    incapable of being surmounted or excelled
    see moresee less
    Antonyms:
    surmountable
    capable of being surmounted or overcome
    conquerable
    subject to being conquered or overcome
    conquerable, superable
    capable of being surmounted or excelled
    show more antonyms...
  2. adjective
    impossible to surmount
    synonyms: insuperable
    unconquerable
    not capable of being conquered or vanquished or overcome
Word Family
EDITOR’S CHOICE

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by Vocabulary.com’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.

SAT/PSAT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

TOEFL

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

ACT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week