• synonyms


  1. not tangible; incapable of being perceived by the sense of touch, as incorporeal or immaterial things; impalpable.
  2. not definite or clear to the mind: intangible arguments.
  3. (of an asset) existing only in connection with something else, as the goodwill of a business.
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  1. something intangible, especially an intangible asset: Intangibles are hard to value.
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Origin of intangible

From the Medieval Latin word intangibilis, dating back to 1630–40. See in-3, tangible
Related formsin·tan·gi·bil·i·ty, in·tan·gi·ble·ness, nounin·tan·gi·bly, adverb


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

Examples from the Web for intangibility

Historical Examples

  • The intangibility of the quarrel was what made it hardest to bear.

    Much Ado About Peter

    Jean Webster

  • The utter silence of the morning was ethereal in its intangibility.

  • But the intangibility of wealth can be shown in yet another fashion.

    The Great Illusion

    Norman Angell

  • It was the very subtlety and intangibility of "they" that made him uneasy, made him less sure of himself and his own ability.

    Still Jim

    Honor Willsie Morrow

  • Mr. James is at his best in exhibiting at once the intensity of her disgust and the intangibility of its provocation.

British Dictionary definitions for intangibility


  1. incapable of being perceived by touch; impalpable
  2. imprecise or unclear to the mindintangible ideas
  3. (of property or a business asset) saleable though not possessing intrinsic productive value
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  1. something that is intangible
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Derived Formsintangibility or intangibleness, nounintangibly, 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 intangibility



1630s, "incapable of being touched," from French intangible (c.1500) or directly from Medieval Latin intangibilis, from in- "not" (see in- (1)) + Late Latin tangibilis "that may be touched" (see tangible). Figurative sense of "that cannot be grasped by the mind" is from 1880. Noun meaning "anything intangible" is from 1914. Related: Intangibly.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper