un·​trans·​lat·​able | \ ˌən-tran(t)s-ˈlā-tə-bəl , -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 , -​(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 , -​tranz-​ \ adverb

Examples of untranslatable in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

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 Coord then took all of these esoteric street rules and untranslatable parking signs and distilled into information that could be easily digested in a searchable map. Andrew J. Hawkins, The Verge, "Become a parking savant with Sidewalk Labs’ new curb visualization tool," 19 Mar. 2018 It was long branded untranslatable, a view reinforced by a turgid rendering published in 1931. The Economist, "The real resonances, and warnings, of Weimar Germany," 8 Mar. 2018 Produced in association with the city's biggest Maracatu troupe, Azougue Nazare — the tricky title's first word is a near-untranslatable Portuguese term evoking the mercurial liveliness of quicksilver — makes no pretense at unbiased objectivity. Neil Young, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Azougue Nazare': Film Review | Rotterdam 2018," 29 Jan. 2018 Though the hair and makeup at Fashion Week often feel untranslatable to the real world, these looks felt extremely approachable. Kathleen Hou, The Cut, "5 Easy Beauty Tricks From New York Fashion Week," 10 Sep. 2017 German’s sehnsucht, Portuguese’s saudade—that are generally held to be untranslatable. Michael Chabon, The New Yorker, "The True Meaning of Nostalgia," 25 Mar. 2017

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


to deny responsibility for

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