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

Examples of unintelligible in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web That unintelligible sound is the conductor announcing the stop. Ellis Rosen, The New Yorker, 24 May 2021 To the uninitiated, the last section of the board at the bottom left may be no more unintelligible than the rest, but that part, Balzano says, was a drawing by her then 2.5-year-old daughter. Clara Moskowitz, Scientific American, 24 Apr. 2021 While the voices in the clip are speaking English, most of it is unintelligible. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, 20 Apr. 2021 On Friday, court staffers muted the lines of all but the participants — but one of Shah’s lawyers apparently was connected on both his phone and his computer, creating an echo that rendered the call unintelligible and delayed the proceedings. Scott D. Pierce, The Salt Lake Tribune, 2 Apr. 2021 The jerk slumped away muttering something unintelligible. Tom Margenau, Dallas News, 11 Apr. 2021 The public-address system was often unintelligible. Washington Post, 7 Apr. 2021 Democrats in the Colorado Senate used a computer to speed-read bills at an unintelligible pace in 2019, in response to Republican delay tactics. oregonlive, 29 Mar. 2021 Entries that are late, incomplete, unreadable, inaccurate, unintelligible or otherwise not in compliance with these Official Rules will not be considered. Washington Post, 16 Mar. 2021

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

26 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Unintelligible.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unintelligible. Accessed 13 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for unintelligible



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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