Word of the Day – Implacable

Word of the Day : January 18, 2023


adjective im-PLAK-uh-bul

What It Means

  • Implacable means “not capable of being appeased, significantly changed, or mitigated; not placable.”
  • // It’s such a breath of fresh air to watch a movie whose antagonist is not some evil, implacable villain, but a regular person who sees the error in their ways by the time the credits roll.
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“His fellow cavers called Mr. [Marion] Smith ‘the Goat,’ and he certainly looked the part, with a compact, wiry body and a wispy caprine beard dangling below a well-cragged face. He was likewise goatish in his implacable determination to keep going through mud and cold and scraped shins, with little patience for those who couldn’t keep up.” — Clay Risen, The New York Times, 18 Dec. 2022

Did You Know?

Implacable is rooted in Latin placare, meaning “to soothe,” but its im- prefix is a variant of the negating prefix in- (as in inactive) and it signals that there’s nothing warm and fuzzy here. Someone or something described as implacable cannot be soothed, which usually means trouble: implacable is most often attached to words like foeenemyhatred and hostility. The opposite of implacable is, of course, placable; it means “easily soothed,” but sadly isn’t called upon very often. Another placare word is likely more familiar. Placate means “to soothe or appease”; it’s frequently applied when an angry person is made to feel less so.