Definition of ineffable in English:

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Pronunciation: /ɪnˈɛfəb(ə)l/


1Too great or extreme to be expressed or described in words: the ineffable mysteries of the soul
More example sentences
  • If truth is ineffable, beyond words, we can't determine whether it can be intuited.
  • Given the combination of ineffable beauty and extremely unpleasant sensations in my stomach and head, I would be quite content to die here.
  • If ‘the world’ is something beyond all description, an ineffable thing-in-itself, no real answer to the question has been given.
inexpressible, indescribable, beyond words, beyond description, beggaring description;
undefinable, unutterable, untold, unheard of, unthought of, unimaginable;
overwhelming, marvellous, wonderful, breathtaking, staggering, astounding, amazing, astonishing, fantastic, fabulous
unutterable, not to be uttered, not to be spoken, not to be said, unmentionable;
taboo, forbidden, off limits, out of bounds
informal no go
1.1Not to be uttered: the ineffable Hebrew name that gentiles write as Jehovah
More example sentences
  • The text makes reference to the Shem haM' phoras, the ineffable, unspeakable Name of God.
  • It also aligns to various religions teachings which maintain that the true nature of God is unknowable as his or her or its ineffable name.
  • Thus all affirmations about God fall short, and only negations about God are really true: God is invisible, ineffable, beyond our names, beyond our words.



Pronunciation: /ɪnɛfəˈbɪlɪti/
Example sentences
  • Augustine's strong sense of divine ineffability led him to condemn all attempts to portray the Trinity, even with abstract symbols.
  • But he points out that the same ineffability can make musical language politically potent.
  • This is my favourite bit of Christianity; its ineffability.


Pronunciation: /ɪnˈɛfəbli/
Example sentences
  • He said: ‘Lists like this are so ineffably stupid, competitive and whimsical they make me despair.’
  • But without looking, touching, and feeling that unique thrill one gets in the presence of something ineffably beautiful and satisfying, they didn't want to.
  • The ineffably camp Shaana warned us yoga would be strenuous, and man did he deliver.


Late Middle English: from Old French, or from Latin ineffabilis, from in- 'not' + effabilis (see effable).

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: in|effable

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