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[im-pal-puh-buh l] /ɪmˈpæl pə bəl/
not palpable; incapable of being perceived by the sense of touch; intangible.
difficult for the mind to grasp readily or easily:
impalpable distinctions.
(of powder) so fine that when rubbed between the fingers no grit is felt.
Origin of impalpable
1500-10; im-2 + palpable
Related forms
impalpability, noun
impalpably, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for impalpable
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The crêpe will be as a cloud thrown over the dress—a transparent, vapory, impalpable cloud.

    Parisian Points of View Ludovic Halvy
  • The words were kind; yet it was not for their sake that Rickie plunged into the impalpable cloud.

    The Longest Journey E. M. Forster
  • But there was an impalpable something in the air that gradually thinned out the party.

  • But I chafed at the impalpable barrier which was always between us.

    The Crack of Doom Robert Cromie
  • But it would see me mix it with the water; and then, would our poisons have any effect on its impalpable body?

  • I must confess some impalpable quality of that ancient room disturbed me.

    The Red Room H. G. Wells
  • In grinding soap to an impalpable powder the difficulties increase.

    Soap-Making Manual E. G. Thomssen
  • It did not alter their daily lives; it was still too far off and too impalpable.

  • Armenium was a metallic color, and was prepared by being ground to an impalpable powder.

    Museum of Antiquity L. W. Yaggy
British Dictionary definitions for impalpable


imperceptible, esp to the touch: impalpable shadows
difficult to understand; abstruse
Derived Forms
impalpability, noun
impalpably, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for impalpable

c.1500, from French impalpable, from Medieval Latin impalpabilis, from assimilated form of in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + palpabilis (see palpable). Figurative use from 1774. Related: Impalpably; impalpability.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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