Definition of ineffable
ineffabilityplay \(ˌ)i-ˌne-fə-ˈbi-lə-tē\ noun
ineffablenessplay \(ˌ)i-ˈne-fə-bəl-nəs\ noun
ineffablyplay \(ˌ)i-ˈne-fə-blē\ adverb
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Examples of ineffable in a Sentence
an ineffable beauty descends upon the canyon as the sun begins to set
Recent Examples of ineffable from the Web
Even when he is mugged or breaks up with his girlfriend, the surface of incident is less important than the underlying, ineffable undertones of destiny and character.
X= Your child’s ineffable, illogical, but very real lust for candy.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ineffable'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Breaking Down The Roots of Ineffable
Every tone was a testimony against slavery, and a prayer to God for deliverance from chains. The hearing of those wild notes always depressed my spirit, and filled me with ineffable sadness, wrote Frederick Douglass in his autobiography. Reading Douglass's words, it's easy to see that ineffable means "indescribable" or "unspeakable." And when we break down the word to its Latin roots, it's easy to see how those meanings came about. "Ineffable" comes from "ineffabilis," which joins the prefix in-, meaning "not," with the adjective effabilis, meaning "capable of being expressed." "Effabilis" comes from "effari" ("to speak out"), which in turn comes from ex- and fari ("to speak").
Origin and Etymology of ineffable
Middle English, from Latin ineffabilis, from in- + effabilis capable of being expressed, from effari to speak out, from ex- + fari to speak — more at ban
First Known Use: 14th century
INEFFABLE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of ineffable for English Language Learners
: too great, powerful, beautiful, etc., to be described or expressed
Seen and Heard
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