untouchable

adjective
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

untouchable

noun

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

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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

It is often based on India’s age-old caste system, with most people involved in the task belonging to the Dalit community—a group of castes that were deemed untouchable till the practice itself was banned following Independence. Niharika Sharma, Quartz India, "India’s most demeaning job killed over 100 people in two years, but is anyone bothered?," 28 June 2019 Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical about Hamilton had vaunted him to untouchable popularity. Doreen St. Félix, The New Yorker, "The Haunted Image of Harriet Tubman on the Twenty-Dollar Bill," 18 June 2019 Who can name its transactions, the sense that fell through us of untouchable wind, unknown effort—one black mane? Emily Berry, The New York Review of Books, "Emily Berry," 6 June 2019 Could Pete Sampras do it and tie this record that everybody thought was untouchable? Jon Wertheim, SI.com, "What We Learned from the 2019 French Open | Beyond the Baseline Podcast," 10 June 2019 Meanwhile, Bellinger continued on a lucky streak, moving his seemingly untouchable lottery operation in 1930 to a location near the Southern Pacific railroad station. Paula Allen, ExpressNews.com, "Prominent businessman on San Antonio’s East Side was both lawbreaker and benefactor," 8 June 2019 Arsenal endured a slow decline under their inflexible long-term manger Arsène Wenger, who was untouchable for many years until finally edged out of the door last season. 1843, "A league of their own: how English clubs conquered Europe," 7 June 2019 The Hyde Amendment, which is popular in polls, was long regarded as untouchable by Democratic candidates. Anna North, Vox, "Joe Biden’s evolution on abortion, explained," 5 June 2019 Holloway had been virtually untouchable and on a historic quest during an event that tests an athlete’s overall ability more than any in the sport. Edgar Thompson, orlandosentinel.com, "UF track star Grant Holloway vies for national titles for himself and Gators," 4 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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, "How a child rape revealed the problems facing modern India," 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, "Every village in India now has electricity. But millions still live in darkness.," 30 Apr. 2018 Since the constitution banned discrimination against untouchables 70 years ago, and with quotas for state schools, jobs and elected offices giving Dalits a leg up, gaps in education, income and health have steadily shrunk. The Economist, "UnconscionableLow-caste Indians are better off than ever—but that’s not saying much," 25 Jan. 2018 Dalits are what India’s former untouchables now call themselves. Mihir Sharma, Bloomberg.com, "India Needs Dramatic Growth, and Modi’s Not Helping," 7 Feb. 2018 Once known as untouchables and reviled as ritually unclean, this sixth of India’s population has never been more integrated. The Economist, "UnconscionableLow-caste Indians are better off than ever—but that’s not saying much," 25 Jan. 2018 Uncertainty has prompted some concern over the military and highly trained group of untouchables policing local populations. Aaron Nelsen, San Antonio Express-News, "Mexican rights commission finds marines and security detail likely responsible for 2014 killing of Texas siblings," 19 Jan. 2018 The rest of the roster has a couple of untouchables (catcher Buster Posey and ace Madison Bumgarner), a few decent performers who aren’t going anywhere, plus a handful of aging busts. SI.com, "San Francisco Giants," 25 July 2017 The coach tabbed by CBSSports.com’s Dennis Dodd as just one of 12 untouchables among the 130 guiding major programs in America expected to discuss what a transfer quarterback from Rutgers does and doesn’t mean. Bryce Miller, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Long, Aztecs smartly sneak peek down college football road," 20 July 2017

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.

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First Known Use of untouchable

Adjective

1607, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

1909, in the meaning defined above

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Dictionary Entries near untouchable

untooth

untorn

untouchability

untouchable

untouched

untoward

untrace

Statistics for untouchable

Last Updated

11 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for untouchable

The first known use of untouchable was in 1607

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More Definitions for untouchable

untouchable

adjective

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

untouchable

noun

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

: a member of the lowest social class in India

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Comments on untouchable

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