in·​tel·​li·​gi·​ble in-ˈte-lə-jə-bəl How to pronounce intelligible (audio)
: capable of being understood or comprehended
jargon intelligible only to the initiated
: apprehensible by the intellect only
intelligibility noun
intelligibleness noun
intelligibly 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 But, to those who are not perpetually online, Biden’s tweet, despite its cleverness, was about as intelligible as the Duolingo bird getting a butt lift. Tyler Foggatt, The New Yorker, 12 Feb. 2024 American politics lately has been full of complicated, multiyear story lines intelligible only to paid professionals or fanatics. Eric Lach, The New Yorker, 1 Dec. 2023 In similar veins, Dialogue Boost and audio descriptions on Fire TV make dialogue more intelligible and easier to hear, while audio descriptions make visual content more accessible to people who are Blind and low vision. Steven Aquino, Forbes, 30 Nov. 2023 Kaner writes action that’s both fun and intelligible — no mean feat — while keeping the story moving forward nicely. Charlie Jane Anders, Washington Post, 13 Sep. 2023 In audio captured here, Ocean can be heard crooning in his hazy manner over a droning keyboard, with the lyrics coming through only in brief, intelligible bits as the words often slide together in a blur. Gil Kaufman, Billboard, 9 Nov. 2023 Then the writers had to solve the challenge of making unfathomable scales of time and change feel intelligible, at least a bit. Rivka Galchen, The New Yorker, 6 Nov. 2023 News media and even Navalny’s parents were barred from attending, except for 86 minutes on the first day when they were not allowed in the courtroom but watched a video link with barely intelligible sound. Robyn Dixon, Washington Post, 4 Aug. 2023 Decoding was necessary to wrangle it into a more intelligible form. Shi En Kim, Scientific American, 3 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'intelligible.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English, from Latin intelligibilis, from intelligere

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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

Dictionary Entries Near intelligible

Cite this Entry

“Intelligible.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


in·​tel·​li·​gi·​ble in-ˈtel-ə-jə-bəl How to pronounce intelligible (audio)
: able to be understood
intelligibility noun
intelligibleness noun
intelligibly adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on intelligible

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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