- incapable of being expressed or described in words; inexpressible: ineffable joy.
- not to be spoken because of its sacredness; unutterable: the ineffable name of the deity.
Origin of ineffable
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for ineffability
They at once usher us into that ineffability of Beethoven's which we spoke of.Beethoven's Symphonies Critically Discussed
- too great or intense to be expressed in words; unutterable
- too sacred to be uttered
- indescribable; indefinable
Word Origin and History for ineffability
late 14c., from Old French ineffable (14c.) or directly from Latin ineffabilis "unutterable," from in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + effabilis "speakable," from effari "utter," from ex- "out" (see ex-) + fari "speak" (see fame (n.)). Plural noun ineffables was, for a time, a jocular euphemism for "trousers" (1823). Related: Ineffably.