un·touch·able | \ˌən-ˈtə-chə-bəl \

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

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Examples of untouchable in a Sentence


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

Lolla had appeared so untouchable that even this modest slowdown felt like a dire harbinger—if its dominance was weakening, even incrementally, what would happen to Chicago festivals with less clout? Leor Galil, Chicago Reader, "Does Chicago have too many music festivals?," 30 May 2018 Factories that pollute but also generate tax revenue and jobs were seen as untouchable, and inspectors from the Ministry of Environmental Protection appeared impotent. Simon Denyer, Washington Post, "Beijing wins battle for blue skies — but the poor are paying a price," 13 Jan. 2018 Under such a scenario, the only untouchable player would likely be center Andre Drummond, who is having a resurgent season. Vince Ellis, Detroit Free Press, "Avery Bradley on trade talks: The Pistons should serve best interests," 29 Jan. 2018 Especially when Embiid and Simmons are perhaps the only untouchable Sixers in regards to a trade. Keith Pompey, Philly.com, "How long will Sixers remain patient with Markelle Fultz?," 24 June 2018 At times, Castillo looked untouchable with good command of his changeup. Bobby Nightengale, Cincinnati.com, "Long ball costs Luis Castillo, Cincinnati Reds in another loss to St. Louis Cardinals," 9 June 2018 Despite a loaded field for the women’s 150-meter dash, Shaunae Miller-Uibo was untouchable at the adidas Boost Boston Games. Pj Wright, BostonGlobe.com, "Shaunae Miller-Uibo sets world record in women’s 150 meter," 20 May 2018 At the end of one of these sessions, the ASMR Barber’s head looks pure and bright, untouchable, almost eternal, like a star. Ashleigh Young, The Cut, "Ghost Knife," 2 July 2018 The time set by Loeb in 2013 was considered almost untouchable, of course, particularly in a car that was both less powerful and heavier than the Peugeot racer. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "7:57:148—Volkswagen makes racing history with record-breaking electric race car," 29 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 The untouchables, whose special role — whose hereditary duty — is to labor in the fields of others or to do other work that Hindu society considers filthy, are not allowed to live in the village at all. Michiko Kakutani, New York Times, "‘Ants Among Elephants,’ a Memoir About the Persistence of Caste," 17 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


1607, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1909, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

17 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for untouchable

The first known use of untouchable was in 1607

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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

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Comments on untouchable

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


a state of commotion or excitement

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