ineffable

[in-ef-uh-buhl]
||

adjective

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.

Origin of ineffable

First recorded in 1400–50; late Middle English word from Latin word ineffābilis. See in-3, effable
Related formsin·ef·fa·bil·i·ty, in·ef·fa·ble·ness, nounin·ef·fa·bly, adverb

Synonyms for ineffable

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Examples from the Web for ineffability

Historical Examples of ineffability


British Dictionary definitions for ineffability

ineffable

adjective

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
n.

1620s; see ineffable + -ity.

ineffable

adj.

late 14c., from Old French ineffable (14c.) or directly from Latin ineffabilis "unutterable," from in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + effabilis "speakable," from effari "utter," from ex- "out" (see ex-) + fari "speak" (see fame (n.)). Plural noun ineffables was, for a time, a jocular euphemism for "trousers" (1823). Related: Ineffably.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper