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Related to unable: not able

be unable to hear (oneself) think

To be unable to concentrate on anything due to overwhelming noise. Can you turn down that blaring music? I'm unable hear myself think! There's so much construction going on during the day that you're unable to hear yourself think over the chorus of jackhammers.
See also: hear, think, unable

be unable to hear yourself think

be unable to think clearly as a result of an excessive amount of noise. informal
See also: hear, think, unable

make head or tail of something, to be unable to

To fail to understand something. This term was already used to denote total confusion by Cicero (Nec caput nec pedes, meaning “neither head nor feet”). Whether it refers to beginning or end, or top or bottom, or, as someone suggests, the two sides of a coin, is not known, but to make neither head nor tail of something has been so used ever since, in English from the seventeenth century to the present.
See also: head, make, of, tail, unable
References in periodicals archive ?
When we then get "expedite descent," I respond that I'm unable to expedite at 210
The Administrative Contracting Officer (ACO) shall promptly review any documentation/rationale showing why the contractor is unable to submit payment requests in electronic form.
Proportion of accurately ill patients at a British hospital rated as unable to make informed treatment decisions
The one who had been unable to live among the so-called "normal" people, once healed, found himself "proclaiming throughout the city how much Jesus had done for him" (Lk 8:39).
CalCPA affinity partners must offer prices, products or services that members would be unable to obtain elsewhere in the marketplace; appeal to a large segment of CalCPA's membership; or benefit a small segment of CalCPA's membership who otherwise would be unable to obtain the product or service.
The 25 exemption criteria are designed to ensure that no one who is unable to work or who is actively looking for work will lose assistance.
All these trends influence the current situation in nursing, and unless gender issues are resolved through the historical analysis of their impact in previous decades, nurses will be unable to make forward progress because they will have little clarity on the essential issues.
Unable to contain persistent protests of coca farmers, teachers and state workers in Peru, President Alejandro Toledo declared a 30-day state of emergency at the end of May.
The city's poor and illiterate (those unable to read) easily understood Nast's images, which helped turn public opinion a Tweed.
However, traditional backup programs that cannot copy open Windows programs are unable to accomplish this, since they forced the user to reboot to DOS in order to make an image of their system partition.
The New York City Department of Finance recognizes that many taxpayers in the World Trade Center area may be unable to meet certain New York City filing and payment deadlines.
She said she was unable to look down, and until recently, she was unable to get out of bed.
By IsraelWire Soldiers responding to a questionnaire were unable to say who were Joseph Trumpeldor and David Ben-Gurion and most did not know the words to HaTikvah, Israel's national anthem.
If the taxpayer exercised ordinary business care and prudence and was nevertheless unable to file the return within the prescribed time, then the delay is due to reasonable cause.
Officers John Thomas Reynolds and Wesley Vick of the Pulaski Police Services, Pulaski, Tennessee, received a call that an elderly woman was in her home and unable to get out of bed.