Legal Definition and Related Resources of Impossibility

Meaning of Impossibility

That which, in the constitution and course of nature or the law, no man can do or perform. means not only strict impossibility but impracticability because of extreme and unreasonable difficulty, expense, injury or loss involved . . . Mere unanticipated difficulty, however, not amounting to impracticability is not within the scope of the definition. Restatement of the Law of Contracts, American Law institute , vol. II, Section 454. In matters of business a thing is said to be impossible when it is not practicable; and a thing is impracticable when it can only be done at an excessive or unreasonable cost. Trans Atlantic Financing Corp. v U.S., (C.A.D.C.) 363 F.2d 312, 124 U.S.App. D.C. 183. An act may be physically impossible of performance as explained in above cases. An act may be legally impossible, as opposed to an act that is forbidden by law. An infant is not forbidden by law from entering into a contract ; but since one lacks the capacity to do so, it is said to be impossible for infants to enter into contractual relationships.

Impossibility Alternative Definition

That which. In the constitution and course of nature or the law, no man can do or perform. Impossibility is of the following several sorts: An act is physically impossible when it is contrary to the course of nature. Such an impossibility may be either absolute, i. e., impossible in any case (e. g., for A. to reach the moon), or relative (sometimes called “impossibility in fact”), i. e., arising from the circumstances of the case (e. g., for A. to make a pajnnent to B., he being a deceased person). To the latter class belongs what is sometimes called “practical impossibility,” which exists when the act can be done, but only at an excessive or unreasonable cost. An act is legally or juridically impossible when a rule of law makes it impossible to do it; e. g., for A. to make a valid will before his majority. This class of acts must not be confounded with those which are possible, although forbidden by law, as to commit a theft. An act is logically impossible when it is contrary to the nature of the transaction, as where A. gives property to B. expressly for his ovm benefit, on condition that he transfers it to C. Rapalje & L.

Synonyms of Impossibility


  • difficulty
  • failure
  • futility
  • hopelessness
  • impossibleness
  • impracticability
  • impracticality
  • inaccessibility
  • inconceivability
  • infeasibility
  • inoperability
  • insuperability
  • insuperableness
  • insurmountability
  • lack of possibility
  • lack of potentiality
  • unachievability
  • unattainability
  • unfeasibility
  • unattainable
  • unavailability
  • unobtainability
  • unobtainableness
  • unperformability
  • unpracticability
  • unthinkability
  • unworkability Associated Concepts: frustration of purpose
  • impossibility of performance
  • legal impossibility
  • recission
  • supervening impossibilityforeign phrases: Lex non intendit aliquid impossibile
  • The law does not intend anything impossible
  • Lex non cogitadimpossibilia
  • The law does not require the performance of the impossible
  • Impotentia excusat legem
  • The impossibility of performing a legal duty excuses from the performance
  • A I’impossible nuln’est tenu
  • No one is bound to do what is impossible
  • Argumentumab impossibili valet in lege
  • The argument from impossibility is of great force in law
  • Impossibilium nulla obligatio est
  • One cannot be obliged to perform impossible tasks

Related Entries of Impossibility in the Encyclopedia of Law Project

Browse or run a search for Impossibility in the American Encyclopedia of Law, the Asian Encyclopedia of Law, the European Encyclopedia of Law, the UK Encyclopedia of Law or the Latin American and Spanish Encyclopedia of Law.

Impossibility in Historical Law

You might be interested in the historical meaning of this term. Browse or search for Impossibility in Historical Law in the Encyclopedia of Law.

Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms

Search for legal acronyms and/or abbreviations containing Impossibility in the Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms Dictionary.

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Related topics Impossibility in the World Encyclopedia of Law


This definition of Impossibility is based on the The Cyclopedic Law Dictionary . This entry needs to be proofread.

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See Also

  • Possibility


See Also

  • Law Dictionaries.
  • Unattainability.
  • Impossibility in Law Enforcement

    Main Entry: Law Enforcement in the Legal Dictionary. This section provides, in the context of Law Enforcement, a partial definition of impossibility.


    See Also

    • Law Enforcement Officer
    • Police Work
    • Law Enforcement Agency

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