Try Our Apps


Famous Last Words


[in-ef-uh-buh l] /ɪnˈɛf ə bəl/
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
late Middle English
First recorded in 1400-50; late Middle English word from Latin word ineffābilis. See in-3, effable
Related forms
ineffability, ineffableness, noun
ineffably, adverb
2. unspeakable. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for ineffably
Historical Examples
  • The country round about was ineffably lovely in the rose light of the vanishing day.

    The Spell of Scotland Keith Clark
  • Already there was something sacred and ineffably sweet about her voice and face.

    A Spoil of Office Hamlin Garland
  • The water-courses were ineffably stony, and, of course, there were no bridges.

    Northern Spain Edgar T. A. Wigram
  • Great was his confidence, implicit, sublime, ineffably Irish.

    Ireland as It Is Robert John Buckley (AKA R.J.B.)
  • Of course it is all ineffably absurd, but the mania for dress extends even to the lapdog in Paris.

    In Vanity Fair Eleanor Hoyt Brainerd
  • Either this writer is ineffably ignorant, or his impudence is astounding.

    Flowers of Freethought George W. Foote
  • The face that Charlie made in these circumstances was so ineffably funny, that Toc burst into uncontrollable laughter.

    The Lonely Island R.M. Ballantyne
  • For the rest, His ex-Excellency seemed to be ineffably bored with his new functions.

    Alone Norman Douglas
  • ineffably he longed to keep it—all that he had in life of sunshine.

    Where the Path Breaks Charles de Crspigny
  • How interesting, how tremendously, ineffably interesting was Life!

    Missy Dana Gatlin
British Dictionary definitions for ineffably


too great or intense to be expressed in words; unutterable
too sacred to be uttered
indescribable; indefinable
Derived Forms
ineffability, ineffableness, noun
ineffably, adverb
Word Origin
C15: from Latin ineffābilis unutterable, from in-1 + effābilis, from effārī to utter, from fārī to speak
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for ineffably



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for ineffable

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for ineffably

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for ineffably