Share this entry

impalpable Line breaks: im¦palp|able
Pronunciation: /ɪmˈpalpəb(ə)l/

Definition of impalpable in English:


1Unable to be felt by touch: an impalpable ghost
More example sentences
  • It stands to reason then that intangible means not tangible, unable to touch, or impalpable.
  • Yet the apparent paradox of associating touch with something that is intangible and impalpable is not as odd as it might seem.
  • Bold choices are attenuated by combination with impalpable chiffon.
intangible, insubstantial, incorporeal, unable to be touched, imperceptible to the touch;
indefinable, elusive, hard to define/describe, undescribable
rare immaterial, unbodied, discarnate
1.1Not easily comprehended: how would anyone come to a decision about something so impalpable as personhood?
More example sentences
  • Not that I would mind selling millions of books to people with impalpable senses of humor, but I've actually been reading his column to find out which clichés and bad jokes to avoid.
  • What I meant by that, I think, was that something in the atmosphere of these places - indefinable, impalpable - clustered life into articulate and significant relationships.
  • Their music surely carries that similar impalpable layer of emotion.


Early 16th century: from French, or from late Latin impalpabilis, from in- 'not' + palpabilis (see palpable).



Pronunciation: /ɪmpalpəˈbɪlɪti/
Example sentences
  • Stephen's vision of the bird-girl at the close of this section illustrates both the continuing power of the regressive force of silence and impalpability, and the power of the epiphanic mode to undermine this regression.


Example sentences
  • Ever since Charles Darwin noted ‘the falling of impalpably fine dust‘while crossing the Atlantic during his famous scientific voyage aboard the Beagle, seafarers and researchers have observed African particulates far out to sea.

Definition of impalpable in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day confidant
Pronunciation: ˈkɒnfɪdant
a person with whom one shares a secret...