un·​trans·​lat·​able ˌən-tran(t)s-ˈlā-tə-bəl How to pronounce untranslatable (audio)
: 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
untranslatability noun
… a revealing exposition of the untranslatability of a joke about weasels and tractors. Brian Logan
untranslatably adverb

Examples of untranslatable in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Some days, we are caught in the misfires of untranslatable feelings or memories. Nic Rodríguez Villafañe, refinery29.com, 13 July 2023 View Slideshow Are there ‘untranslatable’ words? Travel, 22 Dec. 2020 The pain that connects Rama and Laurence is like a secret language, an untranslatable grammar of alienation and loss. A.o. Scott, New York Times, 12 Jan. 2023 Impossible, as some thoughts and ideas are untranslatable, but I’m bound to try. Weike Wang, The New Yorker, 1 Feb. 2022 Memoirs, manifestos, and aesthetic histories offer insights into what can otherwise be unspoken and untranslatable, including the mystery involved in the making of a piece. Farah Abdessamad, The Atlantic, 4 Feb. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'untranslatable.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1655, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of untranslatable was in 1655

Dictionary Entries Near untranslatable

Cite this Entry

“Untranslatable.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/untranslatable. Accessed 30 Nov. 2023.

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