implacable, like a wall

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Senior Member
PATTY AND SHORTY had moved out to their lawn chairs. Patty was staring at the view, which contained the dead Honda in the stony lot, and then the flat two acres, and then the dark belt of trees beyond, implacable, like a wall.
Source: Past Tense by Lee Child

I find the usage of implacable like a wall odd. I could not reconcile the definition of implacable with a wall.

implacable like a wall means inflexible, right?

Thank you.
  • suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    I agree.
    I’ll check the OED for you, but my understanding doesn’t suggest any use that really fits here. Even metaphorically I’m struggling to suggest a meaning.

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    Yes, but I wanted to clarify that every time we say "It's like talking to a brick wall"* we're talking about a wall being implacable. No, we aren't using the word "implacable" but that's because we're not Lee Child, not because the concept is as impossible as Jacdac and Suzi seem to suggest. Compare "like a fish needs a bicycle", "as useful as a chocolate teapot" etc.

    * A common expression, rising in popularity. Google Ngram Viewer


    Senior Member
    English - England
    ... then the dark belt of trees beyond, implacable, like a wall. -> Implacable is often understood as "incapable of being removed from a position/stance regardless of what pressure is applied; stubborn; possessing a fixed permanence; oblivious to any emotion or appeal."

    Taken in this extended form, which Lee Childs seems to be using, and accepting Keith's explanation above, I think the use is acceptable.

    As it happens I think it means "... then the dark belt of trees beyond, which were implacable, and they were like a wall. (Two unlinked attributes.)
    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    English - USA (Midwest/Appalachia)
    I find the usage of implacable like a wall odd.
    That would be odd, but that isn't what the quoted text says. It says "... implacable, like a wall." Both implacable and like a wall describe the belt of trees.


    Senior Member
    English UK
    I agree with Paul and AG: it's not implacable like a wall, it's implacable, like a wall ie implacable, and like a wall.
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