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

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Other Words from inarticulate


inarticulately adverb
inarticulateness noun

Synonyms for inarticulate

Synonyms: Adjective

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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 My comments were the inarticulate reflection of long soul searching. Leah Asmelash And Melissa Alonso, CNN, "Georgetown Law fires a professor after she was seen on video complaining about Black students," 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, "'An American Pickle': Film Review," 3 Aug. 2020 Clothing is an eloquent form of communication for the inarticulate. Robin Givhan, Washington Post, "Our clothes tell our story. What happens when the narrative is just pajamas and sweats?," 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, "‘Burden’ Review: A White Supremacist’s Change of Heart," 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,, "When Byrds of a feather, and other bands, flocked together," 13 June 2019 His hardboiled tone is one limitation: many readers will only be so interested in the fates of grungy, inarticulate men named Mac. Matt Hanson, The New Yorker, "What John Dos Passos’s “1919” Got Right About 2019," 29 Dec. 2019 The film, which shares Robbie's inarticulate restlessness, doesn't sit comfortably in the road-movie template despite hitting many of its dramatic beats. John Defore, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Already Gone': Film Review," 15 Aug. 2019 Young, ingenuous, and often inarticulate, the fledgling directors, screenwriters, producers and others pour through the school’s gate and undergo a daunting series of tests, auditions, and interviews with professionals that goes on for several days. Peter Keough,, "Doc Talk: Endless love, film school confidential, kind of a drag," 3 July 2019

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for inarticulate

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The first known use of inarticulate was in 1603

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Statistics for inarticulate

Last Updated

18 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Inarticulate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for inarticulate



English Language Learners Definition of inarticulate

: not able to express ideas clearly and effectively in speech or writing : not articulate
: not able to speak
: not expressed clearly or easily understood


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

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