un·​touch·​able | \ ˌən-ˈtə-chə-bəl How to pronounce untouchable (audio) \

Definition of untouchable

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : forbidden to the touch : not to be handled
b : exempt from criticism or control
2 : lying beyond reach
3 : disagreeable or defiling to the touch



Definition of untouchable (Entry 2 of 2)

: one that is untouchable specifically : a member of a large formerly segregated hereditary group in India having in traditional Hindu belief the quality of defiling by contact a member of a higher caste

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of untouchable in a Sentence

Adjective The mayor believed that he was untouchable and not subject to the same laws as the rest of us. The team's record was untouchable.
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The Kardashian empire, in a way, is built on emotional expression, on broadcasting vulnerabilities, on being relatable while previous generations were untouchable. Raven Smith, Vogue, 30 June 2021 Bednar was solid again, but not untouchable, striking out seven in 6 1/3 innings. Eric Olson, ajc, 27 June 2021 Bednar was solid again, but not untouchable, striking out seven in 6 1/3 innings. Eric Olson, Star Tribune, 26 June 2021 Silicon Valley still seemed politically untouchable. Gilad Edelman, Wired, 19 June 2021 Outside of Damian Lillard there isn’t a player in uniform who should be untouchable this summer. John Canzano, oregonlive, 4 June 2021 Yet Mundo Deportivo claim on Tuesday that four stars previously regarded ‘untouchable’ have seen their status reduced and could even be moved on. Tom Sanderson, Forbes, 18 May 2021 Oftentimes, this person can seem untouchable, unstoppable and can be the object of envy for other team members. Mark Samuel, Forbes, 26 May 2021 This task meant embracing the less flattering side of a seemingly untouchable figure. Carlos Aguilar, Los Angeles Times, 21 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Sure, but then again so was the Heat insistence that the team’s protection of its youth made Herro, Robinson and even Precious Achiuwa untouchable. Ira Winderman, sun-sentinel.com, 30 Mar. 2021 Virus piles on the pain for India's 'untouchables' India's caste system was officially abolished in 1950, but the 2,000-year-old social system imposed on people by birth still exists in many aspects of life. Eliza Mackintosh, CNN, 16 Apr. 2020 The untouchables Lam’s continuing refusal to set up an independent inquiry has raised questions as to whether the government has ultimate authority over the police force in the wake of the territory’s return to China. Mary Hui, Quartz, 11 Dec. 2019 Apple TV+ has reportedly sunk at least $1 billion — and possibly $6 billion — into its original content, signing untouchables like Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg and J.J. Abrams as production heavyweights. Los Angeles Times, 10 Oct. 2019 Two hundred million of them are Dalit, or what used to be called untouchables. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, 6 Oct. 2019 The relative increase in the Muslim population that the census had established, and the uncertain status of untouchables and tribal groups as Hindus for enumeration purposes made the definition of a Hindu all the more critical. Vikram Sampath, Quartz India, 20 Aug. 2019 Many of the crimes against women and children have also been hate crimes against Dalits (untouchables) and minorities, argues Kavita Krishnan, secretary of All India Progressive Women's Association. Sam Kiley, CNN, 17 May 2018 But some of the village’s poorest residents — former untouchables — were given new connections in January after living for decades in darkness. Vidhi Doshi, Washington Post, 30 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'untouchable.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of untouchable


1607, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1909, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About untouchable

Time Traveler for untouchable

Time Traveler

The first known use of untouchable was in 1607

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near untouchable








See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for untouchable

Last Updated

5 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Untouchable.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/untouchable. Accessed 27 Jul. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for untouchable



English Language Learners Definition of untouchable

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: too powerful or important to be punished, criticized, etc.
: too good to be equaled by anyone else



English Language Learners Definition of untouchable (Entry 2 of 2)

: a member of the lowest social class in India

More from Merriam-Webster on untouchable

Nglish: Translation of untouchable for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about untouchable


Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!