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imperceptible

[im-per-sep-tuh-buh l] /ˌɪm pərˈsɛp tə bəl/
adjective
1.
very slight, gradual, or subtle:
the imperceptible slope of the road.
2.
not perceptible; not perceived by or affecting the senses.
noun
3.
something not capable of being perceived by the senses:
metaphysical speculation about imperceptibles.
Origin of imperceptible
1520-1530
From the Medieval Latin word imperceptibilis, dating back to 1520-30. See im-2, perceptible
Related forms
imperceptibility, imperceptibleness, noun
imperceptibly, adverb
Synonyms
2. hidden, unperceivable, undetectable.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for imperceptible
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • God's beginnings are imperceptible, whether in the region of soul or of matter.

    Weighed and Wanting George MacDonald
  • He was accused of putting on an imperceptible touch of rouge.

  • He made no reply, but questioned her by an imperceptible movement of the eyelids.

    The Downfall Emile Zola
  • Those which are equal are imperceptible, and we call them transparent.

    Timaeus Plato
  • Little by little a faint hope crept into my mind—fragile, often imperceptible.

    The Prodigal Returns Lilian Staveley
  • His eyes looked at it, narrowed with attention, as if expecting an imperceptible sign.

    Typhoon Joseph Conrad
  • Her head, he fancied, had made an imperceptible affirmative movement.

    Victory Joseph Conrad
British Dictionary definitions for imperceptible

imperceptible

/ˌɪmpəˈsɛptɪbəl/
adjective
1.
too slight, subtle, gradual, etc, to be perceived
Derived Forms
imperceptibility, imperceptibleness, noun
imperceptibly, 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 imperceptible
adj.

early 15c., from French imperceptible (early 15c.), from Medieval Latin imperceptibilis, from assimilated form of in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + perceptibilis (see perceptible). Related: Imperceptibly. OED marks imperceivable as "Now rare."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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