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imperceptible

[im-per-sep-tuh-buhl]
adjective
  1. very slight, gradual, or subtle: the imperceptible slope of the road.
  2. not perceptible; not perceived by or affecting the senses.
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noun
  1. something not capable of being perceived by the senses: metaphysical speculation about imperceptibles.
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Origin of imperceptible

From the Medieval Latin word imperceptibilis, dating back to 1520–30. See im-2, perceptible
Related formsim·per·cep·ti·bil·i·ty, im·per·cep·ti·ble·ness, nounim·per·cep·ti·bly, adverb

Synonyms

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for imperceptibility

Historical Examples

  • Ninety-nine hundredths of this amiable world of ours would have guffawed the poor creature into imperceptibility ages ago.

    The Return

    Walter de la Mare

  • He stood up, making an excuse, imperceptibility lurching as he did so.


British Dictionary definitions for imperceptibility

imperceptible

adjective
  1. too slight, subtle, gradual, etc, to be perceived
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Derived Formsimperceptibility or imperceptibleness, nounimperceptibly, 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 imperceptibility

n.

1670s, from imperceptible + -ity.

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imperceptible

adj.

early 15c., from French imperceptible (early 15c.), from Medieval Latin imperceptibilis, from assimilated form of in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + perceptibilis (see perceptible). Related: Imperceptibly. OED marks imperceivable as "Now rare."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper