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

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 Its emergence demonstrates how a code-switching people can enrich language while making a horrific war more intelligible to themselves. New York Times, 22 Apr. 2022 But the images of hypnagogia never stop; the creativity of the dreaming mind is a transformative force defined by the fact that it can’t be distilled into intelligible sentences, paintable images, tolerable music. Michael W. Clune, Harper’s Magazine , 16 Mar. 2022 The Fore responses were virtually identical to those of people surveyed in countries such as Japan or Brazil or the U.S., so the researchers contended that facial expressions are a universally intelligible emotional language. John Mcquaid, Scientific American, 1 Dec. 2021 By returning the 1971 musical to its rock opera roots and giving its characters guitars, hand mics and a skid-row edge, director Timothy Sheader seems more interested in a visceral retelling of Jesus’s final days than an intelligible one. Washington Post, 25 Feb. 2022 Birmingham provides just enough of Dostoevsky’s plot to make the novel intelligible without feeling the need to spend pages on deadening summary (so often a failing in books about books). Washington Post, 3 Dec. 2021 Such delegations are not blank checks but depend on intelligible limiting principles. Richard A. Epstein And Mario Loyola, WSJ, 7 Dec. 2021 And maybe that ideal — of being a straightforward, universally intelligible buying guide — will ultimately see the Wine Advocate into a successful new era. Esther Mobley, San Francisco Chronicle, 2 Dec. 2021 But perhaps, the biggest irony was that both phrases, Jashn-e-Riwaaz and Jhilmil si Diwali would be perfectly intelligible to Indian Hindi speakers. Shoaib Daniyal, Quartz, 26 Oct. 2021 See More

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.

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

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

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intelligible species

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Last Updated

29 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Intelligible.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for intelligible


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

More from Merriam-Webster on intelligible

Nglish: Translation of intelligible for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of intelligible for Arabic Speakers


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