lacking the ability to express oneself, especially in clear and effective speech: an inarticulate public speaker.
unable to use articulate speech: inarticulate with rage.
not articulate; not uttered or emitted with expressive or intelligible modulations: His mouth stuffed, he could utter only inarticulate sounds.
not fully expressed or expressible: a voice choked with inarticulate agony.
Anatomy, Zoology. not jointed; having no articulation or joint.

Origin of inarticulate

From the Late Latin word inarticulātus, dating back to 1595–1605. See in-3, articulate
Related formsin·ar·tic·u·late·ly, adverbin·ar·tic·u·late·ness, noun

Synonyms for inarticulate

2. mute, dumb. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for inarticulateness

Contemporary Examples of inarticulateness

  • In style, the contrast with the combination of inarticulateness and irritability of his predecessor could not have been greater.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Obama Owns the Room

    Michael Lind

    February 9, 2009

Historical Examples of inarticulateness

  • Inarticulateness increased his accumulating store of wonder.

    The Promise of Air

    Algernon Blackwood

  • He was confused, painfully conscious of his inarticulateness.

    Martin Eden

    Jack London

  • Every man wants superiority and distinction for himself, he only wants equality, invisibility, and inarticulateness for others.

  • Let us remember the inarticulateness of ritualism, how it stifles rather than utters the feelings of the heart.

  • It was her only break from inarticulateness—it surprised herself and her father almost as though she had said something indecent.


    M. Leonora Eyles

British Dictionary definitions for inarticulateness



unable to express oneself fluently or clearly; incoherent
(of speech, language, etc) unclear or incomprehensible; unintelligibleinarticulate grunts
unable to speak; dumb
unable to be expressed; unvoicedinarticulate suffering
biology having no joints, segments, or articulation
Derived Formsinarticulately, adverbinarticulateness or inarticulacy, noun
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 inarticulateness



c.1600, "not clear or intelligible" (of speech), from Late Latin inarticulatus "inarticulate, indistinct," from in- "not" (see in- (1)) + articulatus, past participle of articulare (see articulation). Related: Inarticulately; inarticulateness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

inarticulateness in Medicine




Uttered without the use of normal words or syllables; incomprehensible as speech or language.
Unable to speak; speechless.
Unable to speak with clarity or eloquence.
Not having joints or segments.
Related formsin′ar•ticu•late•ness null n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.