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[im-per-sep-tuh-buh l] /ˌɪm pərˈsɛp tə bəl/
very slight, gradual, or subtle:
the imperceptible slope of the road.
not perceptible; not perceived by or affecting the senses.
something not capable of being perceived by the senses:
metaphysical speculation about imperceptibles.
Origin of imperceptible
From the Medieval Latin word imperceptibilis, dating back to 1520-30. See im-2, perceptible
Related forms
imperceptibility, imperceptibleness, noun
imperceptibly, adverb
2. hidden, unperceivable, undetectable. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for imperceptibly
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Steadily, imperceptibly, and surely, until it was paramount and supreme.

  • I had seen it, the slight puff of the earlobes—oh, so imperceptibly slight.

    The House of Pride Jack London
  • imperceptibly, Helen straightened herself and took a breath.

    Moor Fires

    E. H. (Emily Hilda) Young
  • Slowly, imperceptibly, the orientation of the planet has changed.

    The Life Radiant

    Lilian Whiting
  • He drifted away from Miriam imperceptibly, without knowing he was going.

    Sons and Lovers David Herbert Lawrence
  • But imperceptibly the influences of domestic life had tamed and won him.

    Moods Louisa May Alcott
  • Then he turned to her again and imperceptibly inclined his head.


    George Looms
  • But it was a question that took, not imperceptibly, some answering.

    The Golden Bowl Henry James
  • They fructify in silence, and imperceptibly make their possessor rich.

    Prices of Books Henry B. Wheatley
British Dictionary definitions for imperceptibly


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 imperceptibly



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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