6

The adjective indefensible is commonly used to describe something that cannot be defended, but it applies to the defender, not to the attack itself. I'm wondering if there's a reasonably neutral word for "cannot be defended against". Something in the same spirit as foolproof, but less general and without the connotation of being proofed against fools.

For example,

I believe it to be bad policy for a game to have an [adjective] move.

whose meaning is identical to

I believe it to be bad policy for a game to have a move that cannot be defended against.

The term unavoidable comes to mind, but strongly implies that whatever is "unavoidable" must happen, whereas the adjective I'm looking for is conditional on an attack that may or may not happen. Unavoidable also doesn't imply defense. In the example above, "an unavoidable move" might just as easily refer to a move that can easily be defended against but that must be made at some point.

Any thoughts or suggestions?

Thanks in advance.

  • W.r.t. your example, 'insurmountable', 'unsurpassable' or 'omnipotent' could all fit. – Alok Sep 4 '14 at 21:55
  • In a game specifically, you might refer to such a move as unblockable or perhaps unbeatable, undefeatable or even invincible, but those would probably not work so well for other contexts. And of course, they don't really mean that there is no way to defend oneself against them—only that there is no way to successfully defend oneself against them and actually defeat or block them. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Sep 4 '14 at 21:57
  • There is such a word: "dominant". Unfortunately, it's meaning in that sense is restricted to the realm of Game Theory. – JenSCDC Sep 5 '14 at 14:38

12 Answers 12

6

Unstoppable (Dictionary.com)

(adjective) that cannot be stopped or surpassed; unbeatable

Uncontrollable (Dictionary.com)

(adjective) incapable of being controlled or restrained

  • "Unstopptable" fits quite nicely. In the particular context where this issue came up, the verb to stop unfortunately had another meaning that was inconsistent with "defend", hence "unstoppable" and "unblockable" were both no-gos. But no such quirks would apply in the majority of cases. – COTO Sep 4 '14 at 22:01
  • 2
    "Unbeatable" might also work. "Uncontrollable" is ambiguous - who can't control the move, the attacker or his opponent? – augurar Sep 5 '14 at 4:17
9

Why not irresistible

not able to be resisted or refused; overpowering [Collins]

  • 1
    This fits, consider the paradox statement of 'irresistible force meeting immovable object'. – Alok Sep 4 '14 at 21:54
  • It's a good thought, but would "irresistible" not usually require clarification? My understanding is that "irresistible" carries a strong connotation of desire, hence "Joe countered with an irresistible blow." would tend to imply that Joe could not resist delivering the blow, rather than the intended meaning that I could not resist it. – COTO Sep 4 '14 at 21:57
  • 2
    @COTO - I respectfully disagree: that would be a perverse interpretation of your example sentence. As to whether 'irresistible' conveys a strong connotation of desire is something that is entirely context-dependent. Furthermore, abstract definitions or interpretations are always subject to being adjusted by a concrete context. – Erik Kowal Sep 4 '14 at 22:04
  • While that is one meaning of irresistible, another is that in the paradox irresistible force vs. immovable object. – bib Sep 4 '14 at 22:05
  • @Erik Kowal You're being disagreeable? – Edwin Ashworth Sep 5 '14 at 2:10
7

Some variant on counter could work:

I believe it to be bad policy for a game to have a move that cannot be countered. Uncounterable moves make for bad games. For any move, there should always exist a countermove.

2

How about undeflectable? Uncounterable might be interpreted to mean that the offensive move cannot be retaliated. Undeflectable emphasizes that the offensive move cannot be defended against.

  • This implies only that it is impervious to a specific subset of defenses, those which deflect the attack. The item could still be defendable by ablation or other attack-absorbing defenses. – Matthew Najmon Sep 5 '14 at 12:33
1

"Indefensible". This is usually used to describe the thing (not) being defended ("an indefensible argument"), but is also valid to describe the thing being defended against ("an indefensible attack"), with context distinguishing the two.

0

Ineluctable?

"unable to be resisted or avoided; inescapable"

0

How about inescapable?

I believe it to be bad policy for a game to have an inescapable move.

0

I'd argue for overwhelming in the second sense:

So great as to render resistance or opposition useless

0

I believe it to be bad policy for a game to have a move that cannot be fended off.

I believe it to be bad policy for a game to have an unfendable move.

fend off: to hold someone or something off; to fight someone or something off FOD

I believe it to be bad policy for a game to have an unblockable move

unblockable: not blockable; that cannot be blocked Wiktionary

I believe it to be bad policy for a game to have an unparryable move

unparryable: impossible to parry; difficult to ward off ODO

-1

Irrefutable could fit in your context. Indisputable, Unquestionable, undeniable also seem to be fine

-3

Why not simply bend the spoon backwards and use a new, invented word like "undefendable"?

  • Because undefendable (or indefensible) means "cannot be defended", not "cannot be defended aganist". The OP wants a word to describe the attack, not its object. – Andrew Leach Sep 5 '14 at 5:53
  • @AndrewLeach That's true of "undefendable", but "indefensible" is used with somewhat more versatility, perhaps because its deconstruction more vaguely implies non-association with a defense, whereas the deconstruction for "undefendable" is rather less ambiguous. – Matthew Najmon Sep 5 '14 at 12:31
-3

unstoppable, uncounterable,unbeatable,

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