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

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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 Finnish and Estonian languages are mutually intelligible, and this meant that Estonians could watch Finnish news. Masha Gessen, The New Yorker, "Why Estonia Was Poised to Handle How a Pandemic Would Change Everything," 24 Mar. 2020 Hegelianism—at least as Kierkegaard understood it from Schelling and from the Danish intellectuals who had brought it to Copenhagen—treated history as an intelligible process by which humanity progressed toward a state of spiritual freedom. Christopher Beha, Harper's Magazine, "Difficulties Everywhere," 27 Apr. 2020 The case for basic biblical knowledge as an asset in literary and historical analysis is irrefutable: Knowing a bit about the Bible really will make much of world history and literature far more intelligible for students. Bonnie Kristian, TheWeek, "Bible class laws do much less than you hope or fear," 27 Feb. 2020 The process of converting that IP number string to an intelligible domain name that's simple to remember is called domain name resolution. Courtney Linder, Popular Mechanics, "Why Firefox Is Moving to DNS Over HTTPS—and What That Means for You," 25 Feb. 2020 Matt Furie may have an intelligible arc from apathy to upset to pseudo triumph, but Pepe? Pepe’s all over the place. Emma Grey Ellis, Wired, "Pepe the Frog Foretold the Fraught World of Modern Memes," 27 Jan. 2020 Its pedagogy suggests how the past might be reframed and made intelligible. Dan Chiasson, The New Yorker, "Reginald Dwayne Betts’s Poetry After Prison," 7 Oct. 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 In fact, much of the message’s first minute is difficult to comprehend, in part because the voice of the other man in the conversation is muffled and barely intelligible. Rich Schapiro, NBC News, "Rudy Giuliani butt-dials NBC reporter, heard discussing need for cash and trashing Bidens," 25 Oct. 2019

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.

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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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Time Traveler for intelligible

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

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Last Updated

1 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Intelligible.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for intelligible


How to pronounce intelligible (audio)

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

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