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

Although conversion and trespass to chattels have traditionally involved damage to personal property, the players argue that intangible property should count too. Michael Mccann,, "Should the NCAA Be Worried About the Lawsuit It's Facing From Former Louisville Players?," 12 July 2018 The two men were wise stewards of their intangible property, canny protectors of one of the most successful brands in American entertainment. Brad Leithauser, WSJ, "‘Something Wonderful’ Review: The Winning Marquee," 29 Mar. 2018 Food and beverages, motor vehicles, computers and electronics products, and machinery and equipment are among categories ranking highest in income globally from intangible capital, according to the World Intellectual Property Organization., "Brain Power Pays Off With Japan’s Intellectual Property Exports," 15 Jan. 2018 How could a show capture the deeply literate, intangible emotion of Ferrante's words onscreen? Julie Kosin, Harper's BAZAAR, "The First Trailer for 'My Brilliant Friend' Will Make You Want to Re-Read the Book," 30 Aug. 2018 The bill would exempt leaseholds for stadiums on land that are currently taxed as intangible real property. Katherine Peralta And Ely Portillo, charlotteobserver, "Carolina Panthers, Charlotte Knights could get big tax breaks on land around stadiums," 13 June 2018 RoR2 already appears to reward replay with mostly intangible boosts. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "The 16 surprising new games that made PAX West an absolute blast," 9 Sep. 2018 Master Number 22 is inspired to create platforms in the physical realm that transcend immediate realities — by fusing the tangible and intangible, Master Number 22 cultivates a dynamic long-term legacy. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "The Basics of Numerology: How to Calculate Your Life Path and Destiny Numbers," 16 July 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Millennials, who are about to become America’s largest generation, also tend to care more about intangibles like good service, one analyst told Morning Consult. Rachel Sugar, Vox, "The controversial conservative chain is poised to become the third-largest fast-food brand in the US this year.," 20 Dec. 2018 There also can be little doubt that intangibles have grown in importance. Mark Hulbert, WSJ, "Why the Traditional Way of Measuring ‘Value’ Stocks May Be History," 9 Sep. 2018 Last week, all the intangibles favored WSU over Oregon (the Ducks were coming off a huge game, the Cougars had extra rest and a frenzied home crowd). Scott Hanson, The Seattle Times, "No. 14 WSU football at No. 24 Stanford: What to watch for — and a prediction," 26 Oct. 2018 And given the likely continued rise in the role of intangibles in corporate value creation, the decline in the usefulness of financial reports is all but certain to persist. Mark Hulbert, WSJ, "Why the Traditional Way of Measuring ‘Value’ Stocks May Be History," 9 Sep. 2018 Ultimately, a lot of Artifact's hopes will ride on the kind of intangibles that can't be felt out by a promising demo. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Exclusive: Valve walks us through Artifact’s new demo, leaves us wanting more," 31 Aug. 2018 Yet under accounting rules in place since the 1970s, intangibles are expensed rather than capitalized — unless they were acquired. Bloomberg,, "What's a stock worth? In the new economy, traditional accounting has its critics," 8 June 2018 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

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

17 Jan 2019

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on intangible

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with intangible

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for intangible

Spanish Central: Translation of intangible

Nglish: Translation of intangible for Spanish Speakers

Comments on intangible

What made you want to look up intangible? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a complex dispute or argument

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