[ in-ef-uh-buhl ]
/ ɪnˈɛf ə bəl /


incapable of being expressed or described in words; inexpressible: ineffable joy.
not to be spoken because of its sacredness; unutterable: the ineffable name of the deity.

Nearby words

  1. inedita,
  2. inedited,
  3. ineducable,
  4. ineducation,
  5. ineffability,
  6. ineffaceable,
  7. ineffective,
  8. ineffectual,
  9. inefficacious,
  10. inefficacy

Origin of ineffable

First recorded in 1400–50; late Middle English word from Latin word ineffābilis. See in-3, effable

SYNONYMS FOR ineffable
Related formsin·ef·fa·bil·i·ty, in·ef·fa·ble·ness, nounin·ef·fa·bly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for ineffability

British Dictionary definitions for ineffability


/ (ɪnˈɛfəbəl) /


too great or intense to be expressed in words; unutterable
too sacred to be uttered
indescribable; indefinable
Derived Formsineffability or ineffableness, nounineffably, adverb

Word Origin for ineffable

C15: from Latin ineffābilis unutterable, from in- 1 + effābilis, from effārī to utter, from fārī to speak

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 ineffability
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper