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90s Slang You Should Know


[ih-lej-uh-buh l] /ɪˈlɛdʒ ə bəl/
not legible; impossible or hard to read or decipher because of poor handwriting, faded print, etc.:
This letter is completely illegible.
Origin of illegible
First recorded in 1605-15; il-2 + legible
Related forms
illegibility, illegibleness, noun
illegibly, adverb
Can be confused
illegible, illiterate, unreadable. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for illegibility
Historical Examples
  • The ink had been originally red, but in places it was faded almost to illegibility.

    The Pirate of Panama William MacLeod Raine
  • Sometimes, owing to the illegibility of the writing, she has to study out sentences.

    The Arena Various
  • He immediately sat down at his desk and in a handwriting noted for its illegibility wrote the famous memorandum.

    An African Adventure Isaac F. Marcosson
  • But there are other faults in writing besides ugliness and illegibility.

    Seeing and Hearing George W. E. Russell
  • No; but, of course, you are getting there to the area where the rather serious corruption or illegibility of forms begins.

    Warren Commission (4 of 26): Hearings Vol. IV (of 15) The President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy
  • There were traces of inscription on it, but eroded to illegibility.

    Where the World is Quiet Henry Kuttner
  • A kind of illegibility, though a different kind, stole over Mr Boffin's face.

    Our Mutual Friend Charles Dickens
  • I took the book, which was a masterpiece of illegibility, and added it up with my usual grace and felicity.

  • Sometimes the three hours' labour of a morning resulted in half-a-dozen lines, corrected into illegibility.

    New Grub Street George Gissing
  • But Judith is deep in half-a-quire of illegibility, after an episode of a fork-point, and some impatience.

    It Never Can Happen Again William De Morgan
British Dictionary definitions for illegibility


unable to be read or deciphered
Derived Forms
illegibility, illegibleness, noun
illegibly, 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 illegibility



1630s, from assimilated form of in- (1) "not, opposite of" + legible. Related: Illegibly; illegibility.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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