un·​in·​tel·​li·​gi·​ble | \ ˌən-in-ˈte-lə-jə-bəl How to pronounce unintelligible (audio) \

Definition of unintelligible

: unable to be understood or comprehended : not intelligible a song with unintelligible lyrics unintelligible jargon … including parenthetical translations of the words and phrases he knew would be unintelligible to contemporary readers.— John N. Green

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Other Words from unintelligible

unintelligibility \ ˌən-​in-​ˌte-​lə-​jə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce unintelligibility (audio) \ or less commonly unintelligibleness noun
unintelligibly \ ˌən-​in-​ˈte-​lə-​jə-​blē How to pronounce unintelligibly (audio) \ adverb
muttering unintelligibly

Examples of unintelligible in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web And American Sign Language and Mexican Sign Language are mutually unintelligible. Erin Alberty, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Prescriptions from Mexico? Utah is paying public employees to make the trip," 2 Oct. 2020 Aides believed his challenger would either wilt under the barrage or snap under the pressure, but viewers had to endure moments of unintelligible cross-talk and an air of chaos. Rob Crilly, Washington Examiner, "Trump deploys chaos as he tries to trip Biden," 29 Sep. 2020 Speaking in tongues refers to using an unintelligible language, which is often interpreted by someone else in the congregation. Mathew Schmalz, The Conversation, "What is charismatic Catholicism?," 25 Sep. 2020 While singing the National Anthem, the sound system was not working properly and everything was unintelligible. al, "Vigor pulls out of Prichard Stadium as principal cites ‘deplorable conditions’," 23 Sep. 2020 Much of the discussion has arguably been unfortunate, meaningless, and unintelligible drivel, not really worthy of our time. Kevin Dayhoff, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Dayhoff: A tribute to the passing of three great Carroll countians who made a difference," 11 Sep. 2020 As Beijing’s influence grows, Mandarin, which is spoken on the mainland and is mutually unintelligible to Cantonese, has become more prominent. Laurel Chor, National Geographic, "Hong Kong mourns the end of its way of life as China cracks down on dissent," 1 Sep. 2020 Prude yelled, before making a series of unintelligible sounds and appearing to cry as the officer continued to hold down his head for the next three minutes. Victoria Albert, CBS News, "Black man dies after police cover his head with hood and press his face into the ground while he is naked and handcuffed," 3 Sep. 2020 Speakers also repeatedly talked over each other, and WebEx flattened their voices into one quarrelous and unintelligible sound. Nicolás Rivero, Quartz, "Big Tech’s antitrust hearing was a terrible ad for WebEx," 29 July 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'unintelligible.' 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 unintelligible

1664, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for unintelligible

Time Traveler

The first known use of unintelligible was in 1664

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Statistics for unintelligible

Last Updated

4 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Unintelligible.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unintelligible. Accessed 28 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for unintelligible


How to pronounce unintelligible (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of unintelligible

: impossible to understand : not intelligible


un·​in·​tel·​li·​gi·​ble | \ ˌən-in-ˈte-lə-jə-bəl \

Kids Definition of unintelligible

: impossible to understand unintelligible speech

More from Merriam-Webster on unintelligible

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for unintelligible

Nglish: Translation of unintelligible for Spanish Speakers

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