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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
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The change, at first, was imperceptible: as always the easterly mountains grow visible against a lighter sky.

    Mountain Blood Joseph Hergesheimer
  • His eyes looked at it, narrowed with attention, as if expecting an imperceptible sign.

    Typhoon Joseph Conrad
  • Her dancing was incredibly light; she looked like some exotic poppy swaying to an imperceptible breeze.

    The Nest Builder Beatrice Forbes-Robertson Hale
  • Chantry let him do it, though some imperceptible inch of his body winced.

  • The smile died away first by imperceptible degrees from his face.

    Salem Chapel, v.1/2 Mrs. Oliphant
  • Nothing can ever change them but the unconscious and imperceptible movement of the mores.

    Folkways William Graham Sumner
  • "She grows lovelier every day, Clotilde does," said the medical student, allowing an imperceptible sigh to escape him.

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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