• synonyms


[ih-lej-uh-buh l]
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  1. not legible; impossible or hard to read or decipher because of poor handwriting, faded print, etc.: This letter is completely illegible.
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Origin of illegible

First recorded in 1605–15; il-2 + legible
Related formsil·leg·i·bil·i·ty, il·leg·i·ble·ness, nounil·leg·i·bly, adverb
Can be confusedillegible illiterate unreadable
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for illegible

indecipherable, unintelligible, cramped, faint, indistinct, obscure, scrawled, unclear, undecipherable, crabbed, hieroglyphic

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Contemporary Examples of illegible

Historical Examples of illegible

British Dictionary definitions for illegible


  1. unable to be read or deciphered
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Derived Formsillegibility or illegibleness, nounillegibly, 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

Word Origin and History for illegible


1630s, from assimilated form of in- (1) "not, opposite of" + legible. Related: Illegibly; illegibility.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper