in·​tel·​li·​gi·​ble | \ in-ˈte-lə-jə-bəl How to pronounce intelligible (audio) \

Definition of intelligible

1 : capable of being understood or comprehended jargon intelligible only to the initiated
2 : apprehensible by the intellect only

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Other Words from intelligible

intelligibility \ in-​ˌte-​lə-​jə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce intelligible (audio) \ noun
intelligibleness \ in-​ˈte-​lə-​jə-​bəl-​nəs How to pronounce intelligible (audio) \ noun
intelligibly \ in-​ˈte-​lə-​jə-​blē How to pronounce intelligible (audio) \ adverb

Examples of intelligible in a Sentence

the ability to make complex concepts intelligible to the average reader Very little of the recording was intelligible.
Recent Examples on the Web The main problem for consumers is obtaining easy access to health and wellness testing and a centralized, intelligible platform for personal data analytics. Frederick Daso, Forbes, 15 Oct. 2021 What is incomprehensible can become intelligible; or what is familiar, strange. Rajesh Parameswaran, Bon Appétit, 11 Oct. 2021 While languages can and do mutate over the centuries, the changes usually become more, not less intelligible. Joseph S. Laughon, National Review, 7 Sep. 2021 So why would a Republican change parties when a Democratic mayor won’t explain how a cop can know danger lies ahead before getting out of the squad car? Liberal Republicans and conservative Democrats once had mutually intelligible vocabularies. Ron Grossman,, 1 Sep. 2021 Trump, himself no stranger to barely intelligible theories of political change, was reportedly a believer, telling underlings that he would somehow be reinstated as president in August. Jacob Silverman, The New Republic, 13 Aug. 2021 Utilize that idea in a way that is intelligible to people who have never had any exposure? Dominic Corry,, 5 Aug. 2021 Maybe most importantly, female wrestlers are now allowed to tell stories that are intellectually intelligible, rather than misogynistic tales that aim solely to objectify. Dallas News, 8 July 2021 Yet 18th-century visitors agreed that the inhabitants looked alike, spoke mutually intelligible languages and had much the same inventory of boats, carvings, tools, crops and tattoos. Adam Kuper, WSJ, 25 June 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'intelligible.' 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 intelligible

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for intelligible

Middle English, from Latin intelligibilis, from intelligere

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Time Traveler for intelligible

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The first known use of intelligible was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near intelligible



intelligible species

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Last Updated

26 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Intelligible.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for intelligible



English Language Learners Definition of intelligible

: able to be understood especially : clear enough to be heard, read, etc.


in·​tel·​li·​gi·​ble | \ in-ˈte-lə-jə-bəl How to pronounce intelligible (audio) \

Kids Definition of intelligible

: possible to understand Her message was barely intelligible.

Other Words from intelligible

intelligibly \ -​blē \ adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on intelligible

Nglish: Translation of intelligible for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of intelligible for Arabic Speakers


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