- not capable of being carried out in practice: an impracticable plan
- not capable of being used: an impracticable road
- Archaic not capable of being managed or dealt with; intractable: an impracticable person
Origin of impracticablefrom in- + practicable
- Impossible to do or carry out: Refloating the sunken ship intact proved impracticable because of its fragility.
- Unfit for passage: roads impracticable in winter.
- Archaic Unmanageable; intractable.
- im·prac′ti·ca·bil′i·ty im·prac′ti·ca·ble·ness
Usage Note: The adjective impracticable applies to a course of action that is impossible to carry out or put into practice; impractical, though it can be used in this way, also can be weaker in sense, suggesting that the course of action would yield an insufficient return or would have little practical value. A plan for a new stadium may be rejected as impracticable if the site is too marshy to permit safe construction, but if the objection is that the site is too remote for patrons to attend games easily, the plan is better described as impractical. See Usage Note at practicable.
(comparative more impracticable, superlative most impracticable)
- Not practicable; impossible or difficult in practice.
- Of a passage or road: impassable.
- c. 1841, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Journals and Miscellaneous Notebooks, published 1960, page 18:
- H. is a person of extraordinary health & vigor, of unerring perception, & equal expression; and yet he is impracticable, and does not flow through his pen or (in any of our legitimate aqueducts) through his tongue.
- 1867, James Parton, Famous Americans of Recent Times, page 83:
- The strict constructionists had dwindled to a few impracticables, headed by John Randolph.
- 1870, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Society and Solitude, page 187:
- Then there are the gladiators, to whom it is always a battle ; 'tis no matter on which side, they fight for victory; then the heady men, the egotists, the monotones, the steriles, and the impracticables.
From im- + practicable.