Merriam-Webster Word of the Day: Inscrutable


The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day is inscrutable. Read on for what it means, how it’s used, and more.

What It Means

Inscrutable means “not readily investigated, interpreted, or understood.” It often describes what is mysterious or difficult to comprehend.

// The famously reclusive author remains an inscrutable figure even after the publication of some of her personal correspondence.


“Rosters were reconstructed by enlisting former NHLers, players from the KHL and other leagues in Europe and from the college ranks and major-junior level. There is enough of a mixture of guys who are a bit past their prime and others who are relatively unknown or waiting to be discovered to make the outcome more inscrutable than usual.” — Marty Klinkenberg, The Globe and Mail (Toronto, Canada), 5 Feb. 2022

Did You Know?

Scrutinizing the inscrutable may be futile: even close scrutiny can fail to decipher it. Scrutinizing the scrutable, on the other hand, is likely to yield some understanding. All of these scrut- words have the same Latin root: scrutari, meaning “to search or examine.” While scrutinyscrutinize, and inscrutable all prove themselves useful in everyday discourse, English speakers don’t tend to call much on scrutable, which functions as a synonym of comprehensible.

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