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in·​ar·​tic·​u·​late ˌi-(ˌ)när-ˈti-kyə-lət How to pronounce inarticulate (audio)
: incapable of giving coherent, clear, or effective expression to one's ideas or feelings
: incapable of speech especially under stress of emotion : mute
: incapable of being expressed by speech
inarticulate fear
: not voiced or expressed : unspoken
society functions on many inarticulate premises
of a sound : uttered or formed without the definite articulations of intelligible speech
[New Latin inarticulatus, from Latin in- + New Latin articulatus articulate] : relating to, characteristic of, or being an inarticulate or its shell
inarticulately adverb
inarticulateness noun


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

Examples of inarticulate in a Sentence

Adjective He's smart, but somewhat inarticulate. I was almost inarticulate with rage.
Recent Examples on the Web
Face-to-face with horrendous history, the fictional journalist and the film itself become somewhat understandably inarticulate and fumbling. Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter, 19 Sep. 2023 Too annoying and inarticulate. Judy Gold, CNN, 12 Nov. 2021 After all, every generation of music fans finds a like-minded peer group whose youthful, fleeting, inarticulate passion for one particular band provides a soft, stoned landing place in a hard world. Dennis Perkins,, 13 July 2022 To see Amazon come out in support of Black Lives Matter, the same Amazon that orchestrated a campaign around people working in its processing centers and against a black organizer, calling him inarticulate. Sidney Fussell, Wired, 19 June 2020 When television children were still speaking in zingers, these guys were defiantly inarticulate. Jason Zinoman, New York Times, 4 Oct. 2022 The painfully inarticulate pol who delivered some of the most eloquent paeans to liberalism in memory. Jackie Calmes,, 20 Oct. 2022 More broadly though, while the acronym is an inarticulate representation of the issues at hand, companies will likely remain at the forefront of these issues. Kristine Gill, Fortune, 14 Sep. 2022 Even the numbly inarticulate James records thoughts that trans readers might have had. Stephanie Burt, The New Yorker, 20 June 2022
Our role is not to answer but to question, and to let our questioning run headlong, reckless, into the inarticulate. Stephen Marche, The Atlantic, 15 Sep. 2022 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 examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'inarticulate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



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

First Known Use


1603, in the meaning defined at sense 2b


1952, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of inarticulate was in 1603

Dictionary Entries Near inarticulate

Cite this Entry

“Inarticulate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


: not understandable as spoken words
inarticulate cries
inarticulate murmurs
: not able to speak
: not able to be expressed
inarticulate longings
: not able to give clear expression to ideas or feelings
an inarticulate speaker
inarticulately adverb
inarticulateness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on inarticulate

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