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[in-tel-i-juh-buh l] /ɪnˈtɛl ɪ dʒə bəl/
capable of being understood; comprehensible; clear:
an intelligible response.
Philosophy. apprehensible by the mind only; conceptual.
Origin of intelligible
1350-1400; Middle English < Latin intelligibilis, equivalent to intellig- (see intelligent) + -ibilis -ible
Related forms
intelligibleness, noun
intelligibly, adverb
half-intelligible, adjective
half-intelligibly, adverb
self-intelligible, adjective
semi-intelligible, adjective
semi-intelligibly, adverb
Can be confused
intelligent, intelligible, intellectual (see synonym study at intelligent)
1. distinct, lucid, coherent. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for intelligibly
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He only insists that this natural fitness shall be intelligibly explained.

    Cratylus Plato
  • I did not comprehend the service, and cannot intelligibly describe it.

    Glances at Europe Horace Greeley
  • Who was going to take him over the house, explain things to him intelligibly?

    They and I Jerome K. Jerome
  • No one in this hotel could speak a word of English intelligibly.

    Autumn Impressions of the Gironde Isabel Giberne Sieveking
  • Failing in that, the proof was intelligibly found in the weekly returns.

  • Still there are propositions which we might intelligibly use.

    The Theistic Conception of the World B. F. (Benjamin Franklin) Cocker
  • What I know I want really to know, intelligibly and clearly.

    Ripeness is All Jesse Roarke
  • Possibly the following series of tables will serve our purpose most intelligibly.

    The Ceramic Art Jennie J. Young
  • "Let me see her and hear it from her own lips," was all he could utter at all intelligibly.

    Tara Philip Meadows Taylor
British Dictionary definitions for intelligibly


able to be understood; comprehensible
  1. capable of being apprehended by the mind or intellect alone
  2. (in metaphysical systems such as those of Plato or Kant) denoting that metaphysical realm which is accessible to the intellect as opposed to the world of mere phenomena accessible to the senses
Derived Forms
intelligibility, intelligibleness, noun
intelligibly, adverb
Word Origin
C14: from Latin intellegibilis; see intellect
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 intelligibly



late 14c., "able to understand," from Latin intelligibilis, intellegibilis "that can understand, that can be understood," from intellegere "to understand" (see intelligence). In English, sense of "capable of being understood" first recorded c.1600. Related: Intelligibly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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