[im-pal-puh-buh l]


not palpable; incapable of being perceived by the sense of touch; intangible.
difficult for the mind to grasp readily or easily: impalpable distinctions.
(of powder) so fine that when rubbed between the fingers no grit is felt.

Origin of impalpable

First recorded in 1500–10; im-2 + palpable
Related formsim·pal·pa·bil·i·ty, nounim·pal·pa·bly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for impalpable

Contemporary Examples of impalpable

Historical Examples of impalpable

  • This impalpable missive dated from seventeen days previously.

    My Double Life

    Sarah Bernhardt

  • It was as though her face was covered by an impalpable grey mask.

    Jan and Her Job

    L. Allen Harker

  • He seemed to see Enid through some impalpable and yet impenetrable medium.

    The Missionary

    George Griffith

  • "Even now I don't believe in him," the impalpable legend ran.

    The Market-Place

    Harold Frederic

  • He waited for the sun to pierce this impalpable fog, but waited in vain.

    Despair's Last Journey

    David Christie Murray

British Dictionary definitions for impalpable



imperceptible, esp to the touchimpalpable shadows
difficult to understand; abstruse
Derived Formsimpalpability, nounimpalpably, 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 impalpable

c.1500, from French impalpable, from Medieval Latin impalpabilis, from assimilated form of in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + palpabilis (see palpable). Figurative use from 1774. Related: Impalpably; impalpability.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper