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

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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 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, "The Lab Saving the World From Snake Bites," 21 Oct. 2020 These words are untranslatable: the linguistically bespoke. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, "The Meanings Behind Words for Emotions Aren’t Universal, Study Finds," 21 Dec. 2019 Ikh bin dokh a yid,’ which is of course untranslatable. Gabe Friedman, sun-sentinel.com, "Harold Bloom dreamed in Yiddish until his death," 17 Oct. 2019 Writing in English, Spanish and Nahuatl, Vértiz honors and relishes the feeling of being untranslatable. Rosa Boshier, Washington Post, "Ten books that explain the complicated nostalgia of being a child of diaspora," 17 June 2019 The Danish have hygge, that untranslatable feeling of coziness, but the Japanese have monozukuri. Hannah Lott-schwartz, Fortune, "Inside Japan’s Oldest Whisky Distillery," 16 June 2019 There is widespread obsession with untranslatable words, as countless listicle-makers can attest. Katy Steinmetz, Time, "How Learning New Words Could Make You Happier," 8 May 2018 Sure, the fanatic’s zeal is almost untranslatable for those outside of his or her belief system; what is obvious and logical to the true believer sounds deranged or offensive or dangerous to the one on the outside. Longreads, "The Dying Days of the New West," 8 May 2018 In other words, Crews-Chubb’s rough and tumble compositions are not about Assyrian kings, monkey deities, African freedom fighters, untranslatable codices or belfies. David Pagel, latimes.com, "An ugly kind of pretty: The unruly painting of Daniel Crews-Chubb," 14 Apr. 2018

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.

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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 7 Mar. 2021.

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