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[im-per-sep-tuh-buh l] /ˌɪm pərˈsɛp tə bəl/
very slight, gradual, or subtle:
the imperceptible slope of the road.
not perceptible; not perceived by or affecting the senses.
something not capable of being perceived by the senses:
metaphysical speculation about imperceptibles.
Origin of imperceptible
1520-30; < Medieval Latin imperceptibilis. See im-2, perceptible
Related forms
imperceptibility, imperceptibleness, noun
imperceptibly, adverb
2. hidden, unperceivable, undetectable. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for imperceptible
  • Nearly imperceptible at first, the strengthening current gradually diverted our bubbles at a slight angle as they ascended.
  • These changes, imperceptible to the human eye, occur as the heart pumps blood through the body.
  • After a brief space, the convulsion grew almost imperceptible, and finally subsided into the depths of his nature.
  • Thus, by slow and imperceptible degrees life draws to its end.
  • Most other cars that have the feature are so quiet, the shut-off is almost imperceptible.
  • Sometimes the movement is so minimal that it is imperceptible.
  • The feeling of new life should be gradual and imperceptible.
  • It's the almost imperceptible evolutions and setbacks that tell all.
  • Some geological processes, such as those that make mountains or wear them down, typically take place at imperceptible rates.
  • The gradual and imperceptible washing away of the land by natural causes.
British Dictionary definitions for imperceptible


too slight, subtle, gradual, etc, to be perceived
Derived Forms
imperceptibility, imperceptibleness, noun
imperceptibly, 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 imperceptible

early 15c., from French imperceptible (early 15c.), from Medieval Latin imperceptibilis, from assimilated form of in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + perceptibilis (see perceptible). Related: Imperceptibly. OED marks imperceivable as "Now rare."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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