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


something intangible, especially an intangible asset: Intangibles are hard to value.

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

Synonyms for intangible Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for intangible

Contemporary Examples of intangible

Historical Examples of intangible

  • Why should he battle and strive for an unattainable something as intangible as a dream?


    W. A. Fraser

  • The intangible monster of a misunderstanding had crept between them.

    Meadow Grass

    Alice Brown

  • He paused, and looked at his companion as if seeking that intangible something.

    Roden's Corner

    Henry Seton Merriman

  • The obvious dead, the intangible alive, and no connection at all between them!

    Howards End

    E. M. Forster

  • But that fear was not like this fear, which was intimate, personal but intangible.

    The Vagrant Duke

    George Gibbs

British Dictionary definitions for intangible



incapable of being perceived by touch; impalpable
imprecise or unclear to the mindintangible ideas
(of property or a business asset) saleable though not possessing intrinsic productive value


something that is intangible
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 intangible

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper