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[in-ahr-tik-yuh-lit] /ˌɪn ɑrˈtɪk yə lɪt/
lacking the ability to express oneself, especially in clear and effective speech:
an inarticulate public speaker.
unable to use articulate speech:
inarticulate with rage.
not articulate; not uttered or emitted with expressive or intelligible modulations:
His mouth stuffed, he could utter only inarticulate sounds.
not fully expressed or expressible:
a voice choked with inarticulate agony.
Anatomy, Zoology. not jointed; having no articulation or joint.
Origin of inarticulate
From the Late Latin word inarticulātus, dating back to 1595-1605. See in-3, articulate
Related forms
inarticulately, adverb
inarticulateness, noun
2. mute, dumb. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for inarticulately
Historical Examples
  • Margerine, whom we left a fortnight ago inarticulately gurgling by the trout-stream, caught the note of a step in the briar-patch.

  • Dimly, inarticulately, they feel that the world's advantages are for them and for their children.

    The Next Step Scott Nearing
  • It was a penetrating concord of inarticulately pleading, accusing sounds, accompanied by gestures of the most exquisite propriety.

    Italian Hours Henry James
  • He kissed the hand of Mrs. Stafford, and inarticulately expressed his thanks for her goodness to his sister.

    Emmeline Charlotte Turner Smith
  • I heard Holgate's voice raised wheezily in orders, and the replies of the men came back to me inarticulately.

    Hurricane Island H. B. Marriott Watson
  • "I always knew it would come out," the Minister muttered, inarticulately protesting against this estimate of his intelligence.

    What Not Rose Macaulay
  • This is he; this helpless, inarticulately murmuring, wandering old man pointed out.

    A Tale of Two Cities Charles Dickens
  • Suddenly the lids drooped; she grew drowsy, but continued to murmur, incoherently at first, then inarticulately.

    Flamsted quarries Mary E. Waller
  • Now she struggled to her feet again and shouted, inarticulately and gladly through her tears.

    A Voice in the Wilderness Grace Livingston Hill
  • David answered promptly, but inarticulately; so his reply is lost to posterity.

British Dictionary definitions for inarticulately


unable to express oneself fluently or clearly; incoherent
(of speech, language, etc) unclear or incomprehensible; unintelligible: inarticulate grunts
unable to speak; dumb
unable to be expressed; unvoiced: inarticulate suffering
(biology) having no joints, segments, or articulation
Derived Forms
inarticulately, adverb
inarticulateness, inarticulacy, noun
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 inarticulately



c.1600, "not clear or intelligible" (of speech), from Late Latin inarticulatus "inarticulate, indistinct," from in- "not" (see in- (1)) + articulatus, past participle of articulare (see articulation). Related: Inarticulately; inarticulateness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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inarticulately in Medicine

inarticulate in·ar·tic·u·late (ĭn'är-tĭk'yə-lĭt)

  1. Uttered without the use of normal words or syllables; incomprehensible as speech or language.

  2. Unable to speak; speechless.

  3. Unable to speak with clarity or eloquence.

  4. Not having joints or segments.

in'ar·tic'u·late·ness or in'ar·tic'u·la·cy (-lə-sē) n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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