Definition of intelligible in English:



  • 1Able to be understood; comprehensible.

    ‘use vocabulary that is intelligible to your audience’
    ‘a barely intelligible reply’
    • ‘He got a sensible and intelligible reply from Natasha.’
    • ‘He came across something that struck me as intelligible.’
    • ‘An examination structure, intelligible to pupils, parents and employers, must be a priority as a means of getting these proposals off the ground.’
    • ‘For the last year or so of his life, he never uttered one intelligible word or showed the slightest sign of knowing who or where he was.’
    • ‘Studies show that a person is more intelligible to an individual who can both see and hear them than for either method alone.’
    • ‘Many of the items which are found in the media and commonly used in town speech are not intelligible to the average rural adult speaker.’
    • ‘We're hardly capable of intelligible conversation, and those smiles over the mulled wine and mince pies/beer and crisps verge on the frantic.’
    • ‘He remains one of the rare leading academics whose work is intelligible to normal people.’
    • ‘It was a fine introduction - familiar enough to be intelligible, different enough to be intriguing.’
    • ‘Very little of it is intelligible, you understand, but don't think that stops her in the least.’
    • ‘Before he could make any intelligible reply, the doors behind the reception slid open and a pretty secretary walked out.’
    • ‘I had to clear my throat a few times before I could give him an intelligible reply.’
    • ‘That makes the lyrics intelligible without reducing the music's intensity.’
    • ‘Attendees are guaranteed that at least one-third of all words used will be intelligible to the general public.’
    • ‘The surrounds are used appropriately and dialogue is clear and intelligible.’
    • ‘I am quite confident that I am more intelligible than you.’
    • ‘The individual cannot make himself intelligible to anybody.’
    • ‘Mine was only a middle-ranking independent school, so that's why I was relatively intelligible but prone to waffling after a few glasses of sherry.’
    • ‘How much can you leave out while keeping it intelligible, he asks?’
    • ‘While it's clear and intelligible, a musical really deserves at least a stereo soundtrack.’
    comprehensible, understandable
    easy to understand, accessible, digestible, user-friendly
    lucid, clear, crystal clear, coherent, transparent, plain, simple, perspicuous, explicit, precise, unambiguous, self-explanatory, penetrable, fathomable, graspable
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Philosophy Able to be understood only by the intellect, not by the senses.


Late Middle English (also in the sense ‘capable of understanding’): from Latin intelligibilis, from intelligere understand (see intelligent).