in·​tel·​li·​gi·​ble | \ in-ˈte-lə-jə-bəl How to pronounce intelligible (audio) \

Definition of intelligible

1 : capable of being understood or comprehended jargon intelligible only to the initiated
2 : apprehensible by the intellect only

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from intelligible

intelligibility \ in-​ˌte-​lə-​jə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce intelligibility (audio) \ noun
intelligibleness \ in-​ˈte-​lə-​jə-​bəl-​nəs How to pronounce intelligibleness (audio) \ noun
intelligibly \ in-​ˈte-​lə-​jə-​blē How to pronounce intelligibly (audio) \ adverb

Examples of intelligible in a Sentence

the ability to make complex concepts intelligible to the average reader Very little of the recording was intelligible.

Recent Examples on the Web

Now anyone who could read and count had a neat, perfectly intelligible blank bracket to fill out. New York Times, "Ten March Madness Myths About Your N.C.A.A. Bracket," 12 Mar. 2018 A thousand years ago, early versions of English and Icelandic were closely related, possibly even mutually intelligible. The Economist, "The internet is changing language less than curmudgeons fear," 18 July 2019 At 70 decibels, only half of speech is intelligible. Joyce Cohen, Washington Post, "For those with hearing impairments, restaurant noise isn’t just an irritation. It’s discrimination.," 17 June 2019 At 70 decibels, only half of speech is intelligible. Joyce Cohen, Twin Cities, "For those with hearing impairments, restaurant noise isn’t just an irritation. It’s discrimination," 22 June 2019 As the Department of Home Affairs outlined in a recent paper: The Bill introduces a suite of measures that will improve the ability of agencies to access intelligible communications content and data. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "Australian gov’t wants to force tech firms to weaken crypto," 15 Aug. 2018 Six aluminum plates on the walls, engraved with fragments of not-quite-intelligible text, are filled in with marzipan. New York Times, "What to See in New York Art Galleries This Week," 14 Feb. 2018 The author somehow makes his discussion of bizarre phenomena (such as the way rotation actually distorts space) just about as intelligible and entertaining as the fantasy. John Gribbin, WSJ, "‘The Ascent of Gravity’ and ‘On Gravity’ Review: From Falling Apples to Black Holes," 11 May 2018 Andries put on music—flutes and vocals without intelligible words or a beat. Moises Velasquez-manoff, WIRED, "Ketamine Stirs Up Hope—and Controversy—as a Depression Drug," 8 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'intelligible.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of intelligible

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for intelligible

Middle English, from Latin intelligibilis, from intelligere

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about intelligible

Statistics for intelligible

Last Updated

8 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for intelligible

The first known use of intelligible was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for intelligible



English Language Learners Definition of intelligible

: able to be understood especially : clear enough to be heard, read, etc.


in·​tel·​li·​gi·​ble | \ in-ˈte-lə-jə-bəl How to pronounce intelligible (audio) \

Kids Definition of intelligible

: possible to understand Her message was barely intelligible.

Other Words from intelligible

intelligibly \ -​blē \ adverb

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on intelligible

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


to make a temporary encampment

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!