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

Some of the dispatcher’s questions are met with unintelligible sounds. Los Angeles Times, "‘I can’t breathe.... there’s no escape hatch': Dramatic mayday call from California boat on fire," 2 Sep. 2019 After an agonizing pause, the women who were wounded or hiding heard him say something unintelligible and then take one last shot, upward through his chin. Steve Hendrix, Anchorage Daily News, "He always hated women. Then he decided to kill them.," 7 June 2019 Unless it is made clear what is meant by the latter, the first remains unintelligible and vague. Vikram Sampath, Quartz India, "The father of Hindutva believed Aryans migrated to India," 20 Aug. 2019 The man immediately began to make random, mumbled statements to the officer that were unintelligible. cleveland.com, "Woman accused of assault came home to find another woman in her bed: Cleveland Heights police blotter," 16 Aug. 2019 Entries that are late, incomplete, unreadable, inaccurate, unintelligible or otherwise not in compliance with these Official Rules will be disqualified. Washington Post, "20th annual Travel photo contest: Official rules," 26 June 2019 Cyan’s early posters can be strikingly unintelligible. Hua Hsu, The New Yorker, "How Posters Became Art," 1 July 2019 Its voice is obnoxious, anxious, whiny, whimpery and often frustratingly unintelligible. Adi Robertson, The Verge, "Furby hell: this week in tech, 20 years ago," 24 Nov. 2018 For us this issue --we put [unintelligible] to this issue. Jennie Neufeld, Vox, "Read the full transcript of the Helsinki press conference," 16 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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Statistics for unintelligible

Last Updated

11 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for unintelligible

The first known use of unintelligible was in 1664

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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

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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).


readily or continually undergoing change

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