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

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 \ or less commonly unintelligibleness noun
unintelligibly \ ˌən-​in-​ˈte-​lə-​jə-​blē \ adverb
muttering unintelligibly

Examples of unintelligible in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Most of the drawings are unintelligible, but there are a few recognizable scenes. Nomaan Merchant, Cincinnati.com, "Hunger, fear, desperation: What came of an ordinary ICE raid in Covington," 9 July 2018 Due to her stroke, Claire's mother's speech is slurred to such an extent that half her lines are rendered unintelligible. Dmitry Samarov, Chicago Reader, "The farce Fuddy Meers makes a critic long for amnesia," 22 June 2018 End-to-end encryption transforms messages into unintelligible chunks of data as soon as a user presses send. Lily Hay Newman, WIRED, "Encrypted Messaging Isn’t Magic," 14 June 2018 Fogerty made a virtue out of being practically unintelligible at times. John Adamian, courant.com, "John Fogerty And ZZ Top At Mohegan Sun," 19 May 2018 Especially when what’s on the screens ranges from unintelligible to irrelevant. Jeffrey Gantz, BostonGlobe.com, "Wayne McGregor asks the big questions in ‘Atomos’," 5 May 2018 While drivers and passengers might unleash the occasional unintelligible, adrenaline-fueled pump-up scream at one another, the inside of this giant snow sarcophagus is too loud and too intense to allow for anything else. Jay Willis, GQ, "How to Make an Olympic Bobsledder," 16 Feb. 2018 While the lyrics becoming somewhat unintelligible after that, the passion and commitment in Cobain's vocals are undeniable. Gil Kaufman, Billboard, "Frances Bean Cobain Posts Snippet of Song, Hints That a Single is Coming," 4 May 2018 Others found Siri’s profane response to be unintelligible. Don Sweeney, sacbee, "Ask Siri to define 'mother' twice. Make sure no kids are around | The Sacramento Bee," 29 Apr. 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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The first known use of unintelligible was in 1664

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More Definitions for unintelligible


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

Comments on unintelligible

What made you want to look up unintelligible? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


something that serves to warn or remind

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