invaluable

adjective

in·​valu·​able (ˌ)in-ˈval-yə-bəl How to pronounce invaluable (audio)
-yə-wə-bəl,
-yü(-ə)-bəl
: valuable beyond estimation : priceless
providing invaluable assistance
invaluableness noun
invaluably
(ˌ)in-ˈval-yə-blē How to pronounce invaluable (audio)
-yə-wə-blē
-yü(-ə)-blē
adverb

Did you know?

invaluable = valuable?

Many people find it confusing that the in- prefix at the beginning of invaluable apparently lacks the meaning "not" found in a number of other words, such as invalid, inarticulate, and insane. In fact, the prefix does indicate negation, but in a way that is not immediately obvious. The original (and current) meaning of invaluable is "valuable beyond estimation"; the word describes something so precious that one cannot assign a price to it. This, clearly, is the opposite of the meaning "having no value; valueless" that the word might seem to carry. Invaluable actually has been recorded in the sense "without value," but such use has been exceedingly rare and is practically nonexistent today.

Examples of invaluable in a Sentence

Unfortunately, though, Sally does not respond to lithium, which has been invaluable for many patients with manic-depressive illness … Oliver Sacks, New York Review of Books, 25 Sept. 2008
… the scrolls provide an invaluable snapshot of at least one important strain in early Judaism—though they are by no means a complete record of Jewish belief at that time. Jeremy Lott, Lingua Franca, February 2001
I stayed there only a month or so but it was an invaluable experience …  : that month's residence provided the inspiration for a novel I wrote much later, Sophie's Choice. William Styron, This Quiet Dust and Other Writings, (1953) 1982
Their help has been invaluable to us. the list of likely donors proved to be invaluable to our fund-raising efforts
Recent Examples on the Web But the virus, which can be grown and sustained in lab settings, has become invaluable in cancer studies by watching its effect on healthy cells and tissue. Brian Murphy, Washington Post, 15 Feb. 2024 In the fast-paced, often high-stress environments that leaders navigate, the ability to remain composed and make objective decisions is invaluable. Paola Cecchi-Dimeglio, Forbes, 14 Feb. 2024 They are trained to keep calm under pressure and communicate, a skill that is invaluable during unexpected incidents. Bobby Laurie, Condé Nast Traveler, 7 Feb. 2024 And that is invaluable, something that could change the trajectory of that girl’s life even, simply by teaching her how to own her power. Katie Grant, Parents, 7 Feb. 2024 My path was ever-changing; a dynamic itinerary shaped by the invaluable insights and guidance of my Portuguese hosts and guides. Christine Chitnis, Vogue, 6 Feb. 2024 The Black Health & Wellness Pioneers series for Black History Month is an enlightening and inspirational journey through time that recognizes and celebrates Black individuals’ invaluable contributions to the health and wellness field. Dominique Fluker, Essence, 2 Feb. 2024 Interpreters serve as an invaluable intelligence source on terrorist networks, extremist ideologies and local dynamics. Howard L. Manuel, Baltimore Sun, 31 Jan. 2024 Ashley Englefield: The text messages with Katie Barnard were invaluable. Natalie Morales, CBS News, 3 Feb. 2024 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

in- entry 1 + value, verb + -able

First Known Use

1576, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of invaluable was in 1576

Dictionary Entries Near invaluable

Cite this Entry

“Invaluable.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/invaluable. Accessed 21 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

invaluable

adjective
in·​valu·​able (ˈ)in-ˈval-yə(-wə)-bəl How to pronounce invaluable (audio)
: having value too great to be estimated
invaluably adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on invaluable

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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