in·​ar·​tic·​u·​late | \ ˌi-(ˌ)när-ˈti-kyə-lət How to pronounce inarticulate (audio) \

Definition of inarticulate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : incapable of giving coherent, clear, or effective expression to one's ideas or feelings
2a(1) : incapable of speech especially under stress of emotion : mute
(2) : incapable of being expressed by speech inarticulate fear
(3) : not voiced or expressed : unspoken society functions on many inarticulate premises
b of a sound : uttered or formed without the definite articulations of intelligible speech
3 [New Latin inarticulatus, from Latin in- + New Latin articulatus articulate] : relating to, characteristic of, or being an inarticulate or its shell



Definition of inarticulate (Entry 2 of 2)

: any of a class (Inarticulata) of brachiopods lacking a hinge connecting the two shell valves

Other Words from inarticulate


inarticulately adverb
inarticulateness noun

Synonyms for inarticulate

Synonyms: Adjective

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of inarticulate in a Sentence

Adjective He's smart, but somewhat inarticulate. I was almost inarticulate with rage.
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective More than any coherent political theory, the libertarian revival draws on inarticulate but powerful currents of anti-authoritarianism in American culture. Samuel Goldman, The Week, 2 Feb. 2022 In his quirky inarticulate way, Squires must be a great communicator. Roger Robinson, Outside Online, 20 Apr. 2020 And second, because by the end, the toxic romance between an ambitious but inarticulate film student (Honor Swinton-Byrne) and an arrogant, enigmatic older man (Tom Burke) had come to a fairly definitive conclusion. Rachel Handler, Vulture, 2 July 2021 My comments were the inarticulate reflection of long soul searching. Leah Asmelash And Melissa Alonso, CNN, 12 Mar. 2021 There are shades of Being There in the elevation of inarticulate Herschel to national folk-hero status, with his passion and unfiltered truth drawing support from free-speech advocates, who even start ruminating on a possible political future. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 3 Aug. 2020 Clothing is an eloquent form of communication for the inarticulate. Robin Givhan, Washington Post, 16 Mar. 2020 And then there’s Hedlund’s distractingly odd performance, one that pushes his character from inarticulate to the precipice of slow-witted. Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times, 27 Feb. 2020 At several points, four of the younger musicians sit in the living room behind a stack of LPs from the era and talk about the music on them with inarticulate enthusiasm. Mark Feeney,, 13 June 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun To understand the gap between how Nitram saw himself versus how others perceived the inarticulate, angry young man, Kurzel assigned Jones tasks: film himself with a video camera, doodle in a diary. New York Times, 1 Apr. 2022 In Heaney, the inarticulate, the mumblers, the provincial found a powerful well source of description to draw from. Washington Post, 27 Jan. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of inarticulate


1603, in the meaning defined at sense 2b


1952, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for inarticulate


Late Latin inarticulatus, from Latin in- + articulatus, past participle of articulare to utter distinctly — more at articulate

Learn More About inarticulate

Time Traveler for inarticulate

Time Traveler

The first known use of inarticulate was in 1603

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near inarticulate




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for inarticulate

Cite this Entry

“Inarticulate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for inarticulate


in·​ar·​tic·​u·​late | \ i-när-ˈti-kyə-lət How to pronounce inarticulate (audio) \

Kids Definition of inarticulate

1 : not able to express ideas or feelings clearly and easily an inarticulate speaker
2 : not understandable as spoken words an inarticulate mumble

More from Merriam-Webster on inarticulate

Nglish: Translation of inarticulate for Spanish Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Color

  • a light greenish blue color
  • Name that color:
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!