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[in-tel-i-juh-buh l] /ɪnˈtɛl ɪ dʒə bəl/
capable of being understood; comprehensible; clear:
an intelligible response.
Philosophy. apprehensible by the mind only; conceptual.
Origin of intelligible
1350-1400; Middle English < Latin intelligibilis, equivalent to intellig- (see intelligent) + -ibilis -ible
Related forms
intelligibleness, noun
intelligibly, adverb
half-intelligible, adjective
half-intelligibly, adverb
self-intelligible, adjective
semi-intelligible, adjective
semi-intelligibly, adverb
Can be confused
intelligent, intelligible, intellectual (see synonym study at intelligent)
1. distinct, lucid, coherent. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for intelligible
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I say, Ferrier, do you mean to say this is intelligible to the meanest understanding?'

    James Frederick Ferrier Elizabeth Sanderson Haldane
  • But the air was, by this time, intelligible enough to the invaders.

    The Hour and the Man Harriet Martineau
  • This is not Professor Fisher's rendering of T, but it is the only rendering which makes an intelligible equation.

    The Value of Money Benjamin M. Anderson, Jr.
  • I knew that it was awful French, but hoped that it would be intelligible, in part at least.

    High Adventure James Norman Hall
  • For as it is the doubtful premiss of the adversary that I deny, my denial will be as intelligible as his affirmation.

    Theodicy G. W. Leibniz
  • intelligible to them now was the tale of treason, without their hearing it told.

    The Free Lances Mayne Reid
  • What need of the (intelligible) Decad has that which is already a decad, by virtue of the power it possesses?

    Plotinos: Complete Works, v. 3 Plotinos (Plotinus)
  • Up to this point the aristocracy were intelligible and consistent.

    Lectures on the French Revolution John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton
  • The intelligible in the order of the finite, is a reflection of the intelligible in the order of the infinite.

British Dictionary definitions for intelligible


able to be understood; comprehensible
  1. capable of being apprehended by the mind or intellect alone
  2. (in metaphysical systems such as those of Plato or Kant) denoting that metaphysical realm which is accessible to the intellect as opposed to the world of mere phenomena accessible to the senses
Derived Forms
intelligibility, intelligibleness, noun
intelligibly, adverb
Word Origin
C14: from Latin intellegibilis; see intellect
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 intelligible

late 14c., "able to understand," from Latin intelligibilis, intellegibilis "that can understand, that can be understood," from intellegere "to understand" (see intelligence). In English, sense of "capable of being understood" first recorded c.1600. Related: Intelligibly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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