in·​tan·​gi·​ble | \(ˌ)in-ˈtan-jə-bəl \

Definition of intangible 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: not tangible : impalpable education's intangible benefits



Definition of intangible (Entry 2 of 2)

: something intangible: such as

a : an asset (such as goodwill) that is not corporeal

b : an abstract quality or attribute

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Other Words from intangible


intangibility \ in-​ˌtan-​jə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē \ noun
intangibleness \ in-​ˈtan-​jə-​bəl-​nəs \ noun
intangibly \ in-​ˈtan-​jə-​blē \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for intangible

Synonyms: Adjective


Antonyms: Adjective

palpable, tactile, tangible, touchable

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Examples of intangible in a Sentence


Leadership is an intangible asset to a company. electrical energy is completely intangible

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

There's just something about a steaming mug of coffee, the mercy of a Bloody Mary, the cheerful din of brunching humanity; certain intangible qualities that simply can't be reproduced at home. Sarah Nardi, Chicago Reader, "The Bongo Room turns 25: A look back at Wicker Park's beloved brunch spot," 5 July 2018 The product of this partnership was a limited-edition handbag, but the by-product was a desire for it—an intangible quality. Courtney Coffman, The Atlantic, "Shops Aren’t for Shopping Anymore," 19 June 2018 All the group’s intangible qualities withstanding, there is immense talent in the group. Mark Stewart, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Trust, confidence, toughness and experience have Eisenhower climbing toward the peak," 12 May 2018 For example, a sense of humor is an intangible that many people buy. Steve Jagler, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Jagler: The Cold Call Coach helps salespeople maximize their first impression with prospective customers," 13 July 2018 Not recognizing intangible assets can push down profits and book value in businesses that depend on research and marketing, which are increasingly important in the global knowledge economy. Bloomberg,, "What's a stock worth? In the new economy, traditional accounting has its critics," 8 June 2018 The intangible, though, is the increasing quality of the music. Chuck Yarborough,, "Tropidelic, Leftover Salmon get the jams going: Also Playing," 8 May 2018 Digital companies rely on intangible assets such as software algorithms, the IMF said., "Should Facebook Pay More in Taxes? IMF Wades Into Thorny Debate," 12 Apr. 2018 Rogers not only received tangible gifts from Interfaith Hospitality Network, but also intangible support. Laura A. Hobson,, "Interfaith Hospitality Network: A circle of community concern," 17 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Otherwise, this World Cup will represent progress on the intangibles, but raise questions about whether England is any closer to matching the tactics and technique of the elite. Brian Straus,, "Quarterfinal Stage a Narrative Tipping Point for World Cup Contenders," 5 July 2018 One personnel evaluator for another NBA team raved about Briscoe’s toughness and intangibles. Josh Robbins,, "Orlando Magic, point guard Isaiah Briscoe reach deal," 5 July 2018 That, to me, is where the intangibles are what separates us. Alex Prewitt,, "Q&A: Team Canada GM Sean Burke on Building His Olympic Roster," 23 Jan. 2018 And the intangibles are what coaches look for in young, undrafted players. Mike Persak,, "Panthers' Jake Horton has done everything to try to achieve his NHL dream," 29 June 2018 Although his offensive production has fluctuated, the Padres are among those with high regard for Hosmer, who also draws praise for his intangibles. Dennis Lin,, "Padres meet with free agent Eric Hosmer," 8 Dec. 2017 Family works in his favor from intangibles standpoint. Will Mccollister,, "Pacers Select Aaron Holiday with No. 23 Pick in 2018 NBA Draft," 21 June 2018 The significance of intangibles comes up over and over when Southgate speaks. Brian Straus,, "England's New Three Lions Appear to Be a Different Animal at This World Cup," 24 June 2018 Tuesday’s shootout win was cathartic and cleansing, and highlighted the intangibles this squad seems to possess that its predecessors lacked. Brian Straus,, "Quarterfinal Stage a Narrative Tipping Point for World Cup Contenders," 5 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'intangible.' 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 intangible


1640, in the meaning defined above


1914, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for intangible


French or Medieval Latin; French, from Medieval Latin intangibilis, from Latin in- + Late Latin tangibilis tangible

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Last Updated

10 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for intangible

The first known use of intangible was in 1640

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More Definitions for intangible



English Language Learners Definition of intangible

: not made of physical substance : not able to be touched : not tangible


in·​tan·​gi·​ble | \in-ˈtan-jə-bəl \

Kids Definition of intangible

1 : not capable of being touched Light is intangible.

2 : not having physical substance Goodwill is an intangible asset.


in·​tan·​gi·​ble | \in-ˈtan-jə-bəl \

Legal Definition of intangible 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: incapable of being touched : having no physical existence : not tangible or corporeal



Legal Definition of intangible (Entry 2 of 2)

: something intangible specifically : an asset (as goodwill or a patent right) that is not corporeal

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