9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[uhn-tuhch-uh-buh l] /ʌnˈtʌtʃ ə bəl/
that may not be touched; of a nature such that it cannot be touched; not palpable; intangible.
too distant to be touched.
vile or loathsome to the touch.
beyond criticism, control, or suspicion:
Modern writers consider no subject untouchable.
Hinduism. the former name given to a member of a lower caste in India whose touch was believed to defile a high-caste Hindu; Harijan.
a person who is beyond reproach as to honesty, diligence, etc.
a person disregarded or shunned by society or a particular group; social outcast:
political untouchables.
a person or thing considered inviolable or beyond criticism:
such untouchables as Social Security in the federal budget.
Origin of untouchable
1560-70; un-1 + touchable
Related forms
untouchably, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for untouchable
  • Success, whether real or contrived, makes researchers hubristic and untouchable.
  • University administration and teaching are cozy careers in which the inner-sanctum is made cleverly untouchable.
  • But behind the clash, there is a larger agreement between the leaders of both parties: seniors are untouchable.
  • No matter how motivated some politicians might be to cut the deficit, some programs and tax credits are simply untouchable.
  • They have a defence that makes them all but untouchable.
  • While they are in there your piece is removed from the board, leaving you untouchable until you roll doubles.
  • Because as soon as something gets created, it becomes untouchable.
  • Your views and those who agree with you are not holy and untouchable.
  • It's an untouchable source of quiet light, gently shining from inside the aquarium.
  • As anxiety about the future grows, earlier episodes cease to be viewed as pristine or untouchable.
British Dictionary definitions for untouchable


lying beyond reach
above reproach, suspicion, or impeachment
unable to be touched
(taboo) a former name for Dalit
Derived Forms
untouchability, noun
Usage note
In relation to the caste system, the term untouchable is banned in both the Indian and Pakistani constitutions
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 untouchable

1560s, "immaterial," from un- (1) "not" + touchable (see touch (v.)). Meaning "that legally cannot be interfered with" is recorded from 1734. Meaning "too loathsome or defiling to be touched" is recorded from 1873. The noun, in reference to a hereditary low caste of India, is attested from 1909; the term and the restrictions were made illegal in India in 1947.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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