un·​in·​tel·​li·​gi·​ble ˌən-in-ˈte-lə-jə-bəl How to pronounce unintelligible (audio)
: 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
unintelligibility noun
or less commonly unintelligibleness
unintelligibly adverb
muttering unintelligibly

Examples of unintelligible in a Sentence

uttered only a string of unintelligible murmurs
Recent Examples on the Web There has been no election by the people [unintelligible] since 2007. Breccan F. Thies, Washington Examiner - Political News and Conservative Analysis About Congress, the President, and the Federal Government, 31 Jan. 2024 Michael Jackson performed there in 1984, with throbbing bass notes that echoed across the cavernous space such that his most familiar songs seemed unintelligible, according to a Free Press report. Bill Laytner, Detroit Free Press, 27 Jan. 2024 The middle part—the forest—will remain, for the foreseeable future, mostly unintelligible. Jaron Lanier, The New Yorker, 1 Mar. 2024 The result could be a sort of unintelligible intelligence: models that are smart, or at least capable, in ways humans cannot readily comprehend. Matteo Wong, The Atlantic, 16 Feb. 2024 The two exchange words in unintelligible gobbledygook, like Sims speaking their native language, Simlish. Emily Latimer, Longreads, 25 Jan. 2024 The very concept of humanity in its present form will have become unintelligible. Janna Levin, Quanta Magazine, 25 Jan. 2024 One officer calls out to the boy, his words unintelligible as another officer fires three rounds into the room. James Hartley, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 27 Feb. 2024 But a nasal fistula—a hole between his nose and mouth—made his speech garbled and unintelligible. Dave Eshleman, The Mercury News, 7 Jan. 2024

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

Word History

First Known Use

1664, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of unintelligible was in 1664

Dictionary Entries Near unintelligible

Cite this Entry

“Unintelligible.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unintelligible. Accessed 22 May. 2024.

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