un·​trans·​lat·​able | \ ˌən-tran(t)s-ˈlā-tə-bəl How to pronounce untranslatable (audio) , -tranz- \

Definition of untranslatable

: unable to be translated : not translatable an untranslatable phrase a word untranslatable from German Those reflective undercurrents would seem to be untranslatable to the screen.— Mel Gussow

Other Words from untranslatable

untranslatability \ ˌən-​(ˌ)tran(t)s-​ˌlā-​tə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce untranslatable (audio) , -​(ˌ)tranz-​ \ noun
… a revealing exposition of the untranslatability of a joke about weasels and tractors. — Brian Logan
untranslatably \ ˌən-​tran(t)s-​ˈlā-​tə-​blē How to pronounce untranslatable (audio) , -​tranz-​ \ adverb

Examples of untranslatable in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The other word that keeps coming up is licoroso, one of those famously untranslatable Portuguese words. Ann Abel, Forbes, 5 Jan. 2022 Maybe the really good stuff is built differently—and is irreconcilably untranslatable. Max G. Levy, Wired, 24 May 2021 But Austad doesn’t dismiss unique lessons as untranslatable. Max G. Levy, Wired, 24 May 2021 In this context, the language of truth is not simply untranslatable but illegible in the original. Justin Taylor, Harper's Magazine, 16 Mar. 2021 Corrales’ colleague Danilo Chacón referred to the specimen as a bicho grande, using an untranslatable term that falls somewhere between critter and beast. Myles Karp, Smithsonian Magazine, 21 Oct. 2020 These words are untranslatable: the linguistically bespoke. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, 21 Dec. 2019 Ikh bin dokh a yid,’ which is of course untranslatable. Gabe Friedman, sun-sentinel.com, 17 Oct. 2019 Writing in English, Spanish and Nahuatl, Vértiz honors and relishes the feeling of being untranslatable. Rosa Boshier, Washington Post, 17 June 2019 See More

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

First Known Use of untranslatable

1655, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of untranslatable was in 1655

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Cite this Entry

“Untranslatable.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/untranslatable. Accessed 3 Jul. 2022.

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