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[uhn-in-tel-i-juh-buh l] /ˌʌn ɪnˈtɛl ɪ dʒə bəl/
not intelligible; not capable of being understood.
Origin of unintelligible
1610-20; un-1 + intelligible
Related forms
unintelligibility, unintelligibleness, noun
unintelligibly, adverb
Can be confused
unintelligent, unintelligible.
incomprehensible, baffling, undecipherable. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for unintelligibly
Historical Examples
  • John Junior muttered again, inaudibly to Miss Lambkin, but not unintelligibly.

    Concerning Sally William John Hopkins
  • He read through a sermon after dinner, unintelligibly and even inaudibly.

    Mr. Scarborough's Family Anthony Trollope
  • I explained to Mr. Montenero to what circumstances I had so unintelligibly alluded.

  • Then it began to whir again in the locust speech of the Martian commentator, explaining rapidly, unintelligibly.

    The Record of Currupira Robert Abernathy
  • And so on and so on, more conjugal talk pattering softly and unintelligibly, until they were both ready to go down to tea.

    The Voyage Out Virginia Woolf
  • They unintelligibly hailed me, and I replied with inarticulate but cheerful sounds, and hurried forward to get into my gaiters.

  • So Fanny regained life and consciousness; she no longer chattered oddly and unintelligibly, but lay very still and quiet.

    A Hungarian Nabob Maurus Jkai
  • That volume of poems so unintelligibly obscure to all but the dreaming young, who are so unintelligibly obscure to themselves.

    What Will He Do With It, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • He called back one of the Zaptiehs and muttered to him unintelligibly in Turkish.

  • He called to them unintelligibly, stumbling up the sharp hill, and pointing to the boots.

    Red Men and White Owen Wister
British Dictionary definitions for unintelligibly


not able to be understood; incomprehensible
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 unintelligibly



1610s, "incapable of being understood," from un- (1) "not" + intelligible. Related: Unintelligibly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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