That which, in the constitution and course of nature or the law, no person 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., to stop earth rotation) or relative (sometimes called "impossibility in fact"), i.e., arising from the circumstances of the case (e.g., for A. to make a payment 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 own benefit, on condition that he transfers it to C.
See also legal impossibility

Black's law dictionary. . 1990.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • impossibility — im·pos·si·bil·i·ty n pl ties 1: the quality or state of being impossible; also: the affirmative defense that something (as performance) is impossible 2: something impossible 3: impossibility of performance in this entry fac·tu·al impossibili …   Law dictionary

  • Impossibility — Im*pos si*bil i*ty, n.; pl. {Impossibilities}. [L. impossibilitas: cf. F. impossibilit[ e].] 1. The quality of being impossible; impracticability. [1913 Webster] They confound difficulty with impossibility. South. [1913 Webster] 2. An impossible… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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  • impossibility — [im päs΄ə bil′i tē] n. [OFr impossibilite < LL impossibilitas] 1. the fact or quality of being impossible 2. pl. impossibilities something impossible …   English World dictionary

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  • impossibility — UK [ɪmˌpɒsəˈbɪlətɪ] / US [ɪmˌpɑsəˈbɪlətɪ] noun [countable/uncountable] Word forms impossibility : singular impossibility plural impossibilities the fact of being impossible, or something that is impossible to do Working from home would be an… …   English dictionary

  • Impossibility — In contract law, impossibility is an excuse for the nonperformance of duties under a contract, based on a change in circumstances (or the discovery of preexisting circumstances), the nonoccurrence of which was an underlying assumption of the… …   Wikipedia

  • impossibility — im|pos|si|bil|i|ty [ ım,pasə bıləti ] noun count or uncount the fact of being impossible, or something that is impossible to do: Working from home would be an impossibility. the impossibility of finding suitable work …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • impossibility — That which is impossible. See impossibility of performance; impossible; physical impossibility …   Ballentine's law dictionary

  • impossibility — noun a) Something that is impossible. Meeting the deadline is an impossibility; there is no way we can be ready in time. b) The quality of being impossible …   Wiktionary

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