il·​leg·​i·​ble | \ (ˌ)i(l)-ˈle-jə-bəl How to pronounce illegible (audio) \

Definition of illegible

: not legible : indecipherable illegible writing

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Other Words from illegible

illegibility \ (ˌ)i(l)-​ˌle-​jə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce illegible (audio) \ noun
illegibly \ (ˌ)i(l)-​ˈle-​jə-​blē How to pronounce illegible (audio) \ adverb

Examples of illegible in a Sentence

illegible signatures on the petition will be disregarded
Recent Examples on the Web But the police officer’s filing was illegible and never got properly forwarded to court authorities, according to a state review of how the case was handled. Arno Pedram, ajc, 7 Aug. 2021 But the police officer’s filing was illegible and never got properly forwarded to court authorities, according to a state review of how the case was handled., 7 Aug. 2021 The team found that each unit within the hospital had its own medication ordering procedures, each creating its own confusion, adding to the problem of physicians’ handwritten orders often being illegible. Stephan Landsman, STAT, 6 Aug. 2021 The affidavit’s authenticity was verified by News-Press Now, who reported that it was notarized by a notary public and signed by a witness whose name, however, is illegible. Andrea Cavallier, NBC News, 5 July 2021 The letters are smudged and the last third of the paragraph is nearly illegible. New York Times, 11 June 2021 Records in which occupations were illegible, or were without a house number or clear address were excluded. New York Times, 24 May 2021 Nothing is illegible or obscured — that is clearly a thigh, this is hair, those are breasts — but everything in the picture is made to feel at once authentically frank and genuinely foreign. Washington Post, 19 May 2021 That was the issue in 2017 when bank examiners found flaws in Chase’s handling of checks that had stray markings, sloppy handwriting or were otherwise deemed illegible. Patrick Rucker, ProPublica, 14 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'illegible.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of illegible

1580, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for illegible

Time Traveler

The first known use of illegible was in 1580

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Last Updated

18 Aug 2021

Cite this Entry

“Illegible.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for illegible



English Language Learners Definition of illegible

: not clear enough to read : not legible


il·​leg·​i·​ble | \ i-ˈle-jə-bəl How to pronounce illegible (audio) \

Kids Definition of illegible

: impossible or very hard to read His handwriting is illegible.

Other Words from illegible

illegibly \ -​blē \ adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on illegible

Nglish: Translation of illegible for Spanish Speakers


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