[in-del-uh-buh l]


making marks that cannot be erased, removed, or the like: indelible ink.
that cannot be eliminated, forgotten, changed, or the like: the indelible memories of war; the indelible influence of a great teacher.

Origin of indelible

1520–30; < Medieval Latin indēlibilis; replacing indeleble < Latin indēlēbilis indestructible. See in-3, dele, -ble
Related formsin·del·i·bil·i·ty, in·del·i·ble·ness, nounin·del·i·bly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for indelible

Contemporary Examples of indelible

Historical Examples of indelible

  • Hardly a spot of the annexed provinces but is stamped with indelible and, alas!

    In the Heart of Vosges

    Matilda Betham-Edwards

  • The circumstance made a forcible and indelible impression on my mind.

  • It was a scene which was remembered by all three as an indelible mark in their history.

  • The fellow has used an indelible pencil to put his initials on it.

    Torchy As A Pa

    Sewell Ford

  • She did not tell him, after a look at his face, that some sorrows are indelible.

    The Art of Disappearing

    John Talbot Smith

British Dictionary definitions for indelible



incapable of being erased or obliterated
making indelible marksindelible ink
Derived Formsindelibility or indelibleness, nounindelibly, adverb

Word Origin for indelible

C16: from Latin indēlēbilis indestructible, from in- 1 + delēre to destroy
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 indelible

1520s, from Latin indelebilis "indelible, imperishable," from in- "not, opposite of, without" (see in- (1)) + delebilis "able to be destroyed," from delere "destroy, blot out" (see delete). Vowel change from -e- to -i- in English is late 17c. Related: Indelibly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper