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[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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for illegibly
Historical Examples
  • He glared pointedly at the number which was streaked, illegibly, with mud.

    "Persons Unknown" Virginia Tracy
  • Besides, most of the names were scrawled so illegibly, that some deceit was evidently intended.

    The Thirty Years War, Complete Friedrich Schiller
  • What facts there are are rather like Mrs. Ellicott's handwriting—vague and crossed and illegibly hard to read.

    Young People's Pride Stephen Vincent Benet
  • These grievances, and much more, illegibly scrawled on foreign paper, with a quill pen.

    Mount Music

    E. Oe. Somerville and Martin Ross
  • Practice in misapplying all that you have learned, with a view to writing as illegibly and slowly as possible.

    Silver Links Various
British Dictionary definitions for illegibly


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 illegibly



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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