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 Eye-witness Lawrence Wort told Britain's Press Association news agency that people were sitting on the grass when a man shouted something unintelligible and began attempting to stab people. NBC News, "American citizen among those killed in U.K. terror attack," 21 June 2020 Gimbel's suit notes that some testimony was cut off or unintelligible over the video conference meetings, and that Bauman was allowed to appear in person before the license committee, while others had to connect remotely. Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Judge blocks city effort to shut down Family Dollar store," 9 June 2020 Photos and videos circulated on social media show a large crowd near the sign and unintelligible graffiti spray-painted on the sign. Mike Brest, Washington Examiner, "'The scariest situation': Reporters and outlets targeted by protesters and police in Floyd protests nationwide," 30 May 2020 The ruckus coming from behind me, down the mountain slope, was unintelligible except for a few words too explicit for public consumption. Steve Meyer, Anchorage Daily News, "Spring ptarmigan surveys can be hard work but well worth the effort — and they’re fun," 3 May 2020 There were simply too many voices, and not enough time, which led to long stretches of muddy argument and several episodes of unintelligible shouting. Eric Lach, The New Yorker, "Bernie Sanders Runs Out the Clock at a Chaotic Democratic Debate," 26 Feb. 2020 At its most basic, encryption is the act of converting plaintext (like a credit card number) into unintelligible ciphertext using a very large, random number called a key. Andrew Grotto For Cnn Business Perspectives, CNN, "Why unlocking Apple iPhones for law enforcement isn't the answer," 28 Jan. 2020 Berto Fernandez makes the most out of his unintelligible grunts and groans as Lurch, and wears platform shoes that would intimidate Kourtney Kardashian. David L. Coddon, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: Gifted cast makes ‘The Addams Family’ a treat at Welk Resort Theatre," 7 Sep. 2019 The captain made another call on a handheld radio at 7:05 but the content was again unintelligible. Paulina Dedaj, Fox News, "Duck boat capsized amid fast-changing conditions on Missouri lake, NTSB says," 28 July 2018

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

30 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Unintelligible.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unintelligible. Accessed 2 Jul. 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

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More from Merriam-Webster on unintelligible

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for unintelligible

Spanish Central: Translation of unintelligible

Nglish: Translation of unintelligible for Spanish Speakers

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