un·​read·​able | \ ˌən-ˈrē-də-bəl How to pronounce unreadable (audio) \

Definition of unreadable

: not readable: such as
a : not decipherable : illegible unreadable handwriting
b : impossible to read and understand : incomprehensible … a flawed, unreadable, misleading bill that garnered support based on propaganda and clever—but false—talking points.— Marilyn M. Singleton
c : impossible to interpret The expression on her face was unreadable.
d : not enjoyable or interesting enough to engage the reader an unreadable novel

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Synonyms & Antonyms for unreadable


illegible, indecipherable, undecipherable


clean, decipherable, fair, legible, readable

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Examples of unreadable in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The contents of a 16th century scroll left unreadable by severe burns have been uncovered by scientists, who used X-rays to piece together the 400-year-old message. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Researchers Used X-Rays to Read This 400-Year-Old Burnt Up Scroll," 4 Oct. 2018 Colyer also questioned whether Kobach — the top election official in Kansas as secretary of state — was advising counties not to count some mail-in ballots, including those with missing or unreadable postmarks. Paulina Dedaj, Fox News, "Jeff Colyer concedes to Trump-backed Kris Kobach in Kansas GOP governor's race one week after vote," 15 Aug. 2018 The messages between people and business will be encrypted and unreadable by WhatsApp, but the companies could potentially store those messages in a decrypted state, creating a pool of potentially useful data for those clients. Deepa Seetharaman, WSJ, "Facebook’s New Message to WhatsApp: Make Money," 1 Aug. 2018 Reaction to us as cheapskates: The staff was smooth and maintained an old-fashioned professional distance that made their personal opinion unreadable and irrelevant. Fox, Town & Country, "A Table for Mr. Fox," 21 Nov. 2012 Regardless, the Ultra-Ever Dry would make the screen unreadable. Lee Hutchinson, Ars Technica, "The Internet-demanded, partially scientific testing of Ultra-Ever Dry (in HD!)," 4 July 2018 The cascade of flickering, sometimes unreadable images is so unremitting, despite long stretches of an utterly blank screen, as to be nearly ungraspable. New York Times, "In ‘The Color of Pomegranates,’ the Cinema of the Cryptic," 24 May 2018 The final expression on her hooded face is diabolical and unreadable. Rena Gross, Billboard, "'The Handmaid's Tale': Season 2, Episode 13 Recap: 19 Startling Moments in 'The Word'," 11 July 2018 Encrypting the entire drive to make its contents unreadable without a key--then erasing it and encrypting it again--takes much less time to make your data disappear. Rob Pegoraro, USA TODAY, "Ready to ditch your old flash drive? Don't just erase and recycle," 5 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'unreadable.' 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 unreadable

circa 1655, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for unreadable

The first known use of unreadable was circa 1655

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English Language Learners Definition of unreadable

: unable to be read or understood
: too difficult, badly written, etc., to be worth reading

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More from Merriam-Webster on unreadable

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Spanish Central: Translation of unreadable

Nglish: Translation of unreadable for Spanish Speakers

Comments on unreadable

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


to boil down or concentrate

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