I would like to know if anyone knows the word for something that should be impossible but has happened. An example is the Big Bang Theory. It shouldn't have been possible but something happened for us to exist.

closed as primarily opinion-based by phenry, ermanen, oerkelens, Edwin Ashworth, Drew Mar 21 '15 at 2:03

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    It's your opinion that it "shouldn't have been possible" just like it was a caveman's opinion that communicating with other people on the other side of the planet shouldn't have been possible. This highlights a lack of understanding. – Ian MacDonald Mar 19 '15 at 20:11
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    Perhaps one should say "thought to be impossible"? – Matt Gutting Mar 19 '15 at 20:14
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    With current scientific knowledge, the Big Bang is a theoretical effect without a verifiable antecedent cause, which makes it a transcendent event. – ScotM Mar 19 '15 at 20:17
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    It's called a Black Swan event. And the Big Bang is not one; we have no way of knowing what was impossible 13 billion years ago. "Black swan" refers to the truism that all swans are white, which was considered self-evidently true by Europeans until Australia was discovered by Europeans. – John Lawler Mar 19 '15 at 20:46
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    "Inconceivable!" "You keep using this word. I do not think it means what you think it means." – MT_Head Mar 19 '15 at 20:56

Transcendent event:


  1. Beyond or above the range of normal or physical human experience:


Regardless of how appealing the theory is, we have no way to demonstrate conclusively that a transcendent event like the Big Bang happened. We might gather historic evidence to suggest strongly that it is a plausible explanation, but modern empirical science is limited to repeatable events and falsifiable propositions, and the "Big Bang" is neither repeatable nor falsifiable in any sense of our current technology.

From any place in human history people could look back and see things that were beyond their current capacity to understand and explain. The explosive growth of our capacity has not changed that reality:

mid-15c., from Latin transcendentem (nominative transcendens) "surmounting, rising above," present participle of transcendere

(see transcend).

mid-14c., "escape inclusion in; lie beyond the scope of,"

from Old French transcendre "transcend, surpass," and directly from Latin

transcendere "climb over or beyond, surmount, overstep,"

from trans- "beyond" (see trans-) + scandere "to climb" (see scan (v.)).

Meanings "be surpassing, outdo, excel; surmount, move beyond" are from early 15c.


late 14c., "mark off verse in metric feet,"

from Late Latin scandere "to scan verse," originally, in classical Latin, "to climb, rise, mount" (the connecting notion is of the rising and falling rhythm of poetry),

from PIE *skand- "to spring, leap, climb"



A possible word for this is inexplicable, which means it is unable to be explained.

  • Surprised this hasn't gotten more upvotes. Seems to express the sense the OP intended. – Mike Apr 2 '15 at 3:21

A miracle can have a religious connotation but can also be used figuratively.


  • a very amazing or unusual event, thing, or achievement MW
  • An event that appears inexplicable by the laws of nature and so is held to be supernatural in origin or an act of God. TFD


"The new bridge can be described as a miracle of engineering."

"It was a miracle cure."

"It's a miracle that they didn't die in the accident."


In science, observations that don't match theory are called "anomalies".

If something was thought to be impossible, but happened, it would be an anomalous observation.

As an aside, the Big Bang is not an anomaly because the currently accepted models of cosmology do not render the Big Bang impossible.


It could be considered a form of paradox

A statement that seems to contradict itself but may nonetheless be true

American Heritage


Why complicate things? Something that was considered impossible and yet has happened is, by definition, not impossible and can only be said to be extremely unlikely.

The word unlikely, to which you can add qualifiers according to your taste and needs, describes what you're talking about perfectly. If you want to sound a bit more pompous, you can also use improbable.

(Both definitions from the online M-W)


not likely : improbable


not probable : not likely to be true or to happen

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