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 intelligible (audio) \ noun
intelligibleness \ in-​ˈte-​lə-​jə-​bəl-​nəs How to pronounce intelligible (audio) \ noun
intelligibly \ in-​ˈte-​lə-​jə-​blē How to pronounce intelligible (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 Perhaps some such voters are simply too perverse to really be intelligible. Washington Post, "Let’s face it, we all have the capacity to be mean. ‘Spite’ explores why that’s not necessarily a bad thing.," 28 Apr. 2021 Luther believed that Scripture is inerrant and intelligible. Stefan Beck, Washington Examiner, "If the truth is obvious, why don't we agree?," 1 Apr. 2021 The language of these listings could be described as Amazonglish: awkward but basically intelligible, redundant but highly searchable. Peter Hessler, The New Yorker, "The Rise of Made-in-China Diplomacy," 8 Mar. 2021 Rosa says the fact that the program is generating line after line of mostly intelligible writing is remarkable in of itself. Sofia Moutinho, Science | AAAS, "Kinky and absurd: The first AI-written play isn’t Shakespeare—but it has its moments," 26 Feb. 2021 Some of the conversation at the beginning of the audio is not intelligible, but the deputies discuss whether to stop the man at all. Peter Nickeas, CNN, "California sheriff's department releases video from fatal shooting," 19 Feb. 2021 This all feels like a bit of a stretch—more like a literature-seminar close reading than the enforcement of an intelligible content policy. Gilad Edelman, Wired, "The 2 Tweets That Got Trump Banned Were Far From His Worst," 8 Jan. 2021 Stuart's genius at evoking place, predicament and intense emotional states is wonderfully served by narrator Angus King, a Scotsman himself whose moderate but intelligible Glaswegian accent brings further authenticity. Katherine A. Powers, Star Tribune, "Audiobooks: The best audiobooks of the year," 24 Dec. 2020 America, but his one attempt to say something intelligible about the contemporaneous struggle for Black freedom, Noon on Doomsday, had been a travesty of euphemism and evasion. Andrew Delbanco, The New York Review of Books, "Night Terrors," 3 Nov. 2020

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

Time Traveler for intelligible

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for intelligible

Last Updated

11 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Intelligible.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

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

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Words Used by Nabokov Quiz

  • image1676440788
  • Choose the best definition or synonym for the word in bold: "There are some eructations that sound like cheers—at least, mine did." Lolita
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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