un·​read·​able ˌən-ˈrē-də-bəl How to pronounce unreadable (audio)
: not readable: such as
: not decipherable : illegible
unreadable handwriting
: 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
: impossible to interpret
The expression on her face was unreadable.
: not enjoyable or interesting enough to engage the reader
an unreadable novel

Examples of unreadable in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The 21-year-old computer science student won a global contest by becoming the first person to decipher letters from the previously unreadable papyrus scrolls, which were turned to ash and buried for 2,000 years by the same volcanic eruption that destroyed Pompeii. Bysage Lazzaro, Fortune, 17 Oct. 2023 Your own files would struggle to make the transition with you—many would be forever unreadable. Cory Doctorow, WIRED, 7 Sep. 2023 To use just one book and make the entire thing unreadable? Sophia Beams, Better Homes & Gardens, 10 Oct. 2023 Scrolling through text in a Word document or PDF usually makes the contents unreadable—indeed, this is so common that most people wouldn’t think to expect anything different. IEEE Spectrum, 22 Sep. 2023 Captain Spider stood there, his face unreadable behind his helmet. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, 17 July 2023 Encrypting makes data unreadable to anyone who doesn’t have the password to unlock it. ◾ Let cloud storage do the work: Not everyone is comfortable encrypting their own data. Kim Komando, USA TODAY, 3 Aug. 2023 But with the subreddits now shuttered in protest, most of the Reddit links suggested by Google’s search engine will be unreadable, taking users instead to a private, unreadable Reddit page. Stephen Pastis, Fortune, 14 June 2023 Another shows screenshots of Hannah’s mother-in-law’s bank statements and her Gmail inbox, although the sensitive details in both are unreadable. WIRED, 12 June 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'unreadable.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1655, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of unreadable was circa 1655

Dictionary Entries Near unreadable

Cite this Entry

“Unreadable.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unreadable. Accessed 3 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


: too dull or unattractive to read
a long, unreadable essay
: illegible
unreadable handwriting

More from Merriam-Webster on unreadable

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