[uhn-tuhch-uh-buh l]
See more synonyms for untouchable on Thesaurus.com
  1. that may not be touched; of a nature such that it cannot be touched; not palpable; intangible.
  2. too distant to be touched.
  3. vile or loathsome to the touch.
  4. beyond criticism, control, or suspicion: Modern writers consider no subject untouchable.
  1. Hinduism. the former name given to a member of a lower caste in India whose touch was believed to defile a high-caste Hindu; Harijan.Compare scheduled caste.
  2. a person who is beyond reproach as to honesty, diligence, etc.
  3. a person disregarded or shunned by society or a particular group; social outcast: political untouchables.
  4. a person or thing considered inviolable or beyond criticism: such untouchables as Social Security in the federal budget.

Origin of untouchable

First recorded in 1560–70; un-1 + touchable
Related formsun·touch·a·bly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for untouchable

Contemporary Examples of untouchable

Historical Examples of untouchable

  • That you have graciously touched this untouchable Shudra is the proof of your mercy and that of Srvabhauma.

    Chaitanya's Life And Teachings

    Krishna das Kaviraja

  • The Siamese describe the soul as consisting of some strange matter, invisible and untouchable.

    The Ghost World

    T. F. Thiselton (Thomas Firminger Thiselton) Dyer

  • I may have forgotten to tell you that nearly all of her funds are in untouchable trusts—not in bonds.

    High Man

    Jay Clarke

  • The devil's club of Alaska is untouchable, it is so encased in a spiny armor; but what purpose the armor serves is a mystery.

    Under the Maples

    John Burroughs

  • Even to Captain Renfrew black men were dehumanized,—shrouded, untouchable creatures.


    T.S. Stribling

British Dictionary definitions for untouchable


  1. lying beyond reach
  2. above reproach, suspicion, or impeachment
  3. unable to be touched
  1. taboo a former name for Dalit
Derived Formsuntouchability, noun


In relation to the caste system, the term untouchable is banned in both the Indian and Pakistani constitutions
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 untouchable

1560s, "immaterial," from un- (1) "not" + touchable (see touch (v.)). Meaning "that legally cannot be interfered with" is recorded from 1734. Meaning "too loathsome or defiling to be touched" is recorded from 1873. The noun, in reference to a hereditary low caste of India, is attested from 1909; the term and the restrictions were made illegal in India in 1947.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper