Definition of invisible in English:



  • 1Unable to be seen.

    ‘this invisible gas is present to some extent in every home’
    • ‘The broadness of the emission lines is assumed to be a sign of great turbulence in the invisible gas surrounding the galaxy.’
    • ‘From the side of his vision, Rowan saw another dark elf emerge from the smooth wall, an invisible spell he concluded had kept it from sight.’
    • ‘It's tricky to tell a story on TV about an invisible gas that might be injected deep underground sometime in the distant future.’
    • ‘Gas-detecting devices currently used by investigators can detect the presence of gas which is invisible to the naked eye but not the source of the leak.’
    • ‘He also describes a new goal: to see and tell of things invisible to mortal sight.’
    • ‘Radon is an invisible gas found in certain types of rock and soil, which can cause cancer if it seeps into houses and is breathed in over prolonged periods.’
    • ‘The style was bound up with a very unclear theory of invisible rays, in some ways analogous to the ‘lines of force’ that were postulated by the Futurists.’
    • ‘Dark matter is an invisible form of mass that comprises most of the matter in the universe.’
    • ‘This led to the proposition that most of the mass in a galaxy was low luminosity mass of some kind, and this invisible mass was called dark matter.’
    • ‘This gas is completely invisible to human eyes, but because of its temperature, it is visible by its X-ray emission.’
    • ‘They have already made major breakthroughs in the study of dark matter - the invisible material which scientists believe makes up most of the universe.’
    • ‘Cctv works in the dark by beaming invisible infrared light around the area to be filmed and then using special cameras which can pick up an image.’
    • ‘The gas was invisible, and without taste, without smell.’
    • ‘Dark energy, an invisible kind of energy, tends to make the universe expand, so its effects become more pronounced with time.’
    • ‘At bottom the expression most apt to render what I felt is this: God was present, though invisible; he fell under no one of my senses, yet my consciousness perceived him.’
    • ‘Air is invisible because the tiny molecules of nitrogen, oxygen and other gases that make up air are so small, our eyes cannot see them.’
    • ‘The flatness of the universe indicates that most of the matter in it is invisible, or dark.’
    • ‘Any microscopic reduction, certainly invisible to the naked eye, is cancelled out by bulges wherever elastane cuts into flesh.’
    • ‘Carbon monoxide is often known as the silent killer as the gas is invisible and has no smell or taste.’
    • ‘Dark matter is invisible to the telescopes, and you only detect its presence by the gravitational effect it has on light beams passing by.’
    unnoticeable, undetectable, indistinguishable, indiscernible, unapparent, inappreciable, inaudible, impalpable, unobtrusive, impossible to detect
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    1. 1.1 Concealed from sight; hidden.
      ‘he lounged in a doorway, invisible in the dark’
      • ‘I sat down for a while, looking out at the invisible ocean until my eyes grew accustomed to the dark and then together we picked our way back across the crooked, misshapen rocks towards the beach.’
      • ‘It was nearing nighttime now, and the ebon coloration of the building coupled with the equally dark landscape rendered it invisible after dusk.’
      • ‘Dezra herself had led them from the Lady into a seemingly invisible cave, its entrance completely concealed along the cliff side.’
      • ‘His hair was scattered over his forehead and ears, his mouth was loose, his eyes almost invisible in their dark shadows.’
      • ‘The glass doors were invisible under the dark curtains Michael had decorated the living room with.’
      • ‘As it was, the entry was far from gracious and in the dark, the invisible little television monitor that hangs from the ceiling got a well deserved thump from a large western head for its troubles.’
      • ‘Rine muttered under her breath and waved her hand, and the orange flames turned a dark blue, almost invisible against the dark tree roots and casting no light at all.’
      • ‘The large, dark tabby was almost invisible under dim light, despite his four white feet.’
      • ‘As she looked around in her dark, almost invisible room, she noticed that the clock displayed the time of four o'clock in the morning.’
      • ‘There were thousands of people up in those dark, invisible balconies.’
      • ‘For the video projection the frame is not the surface of the wall but the dark invisible space between the projector and the wall.’
      • ‘Alex had been found hiding in the boys changing rooms rambling on about something invisible in the dark, something that had killed Lizzie and he couldn't stop it.’
      • ‘Against a dark backdrop, invisible footlights pick out Paganini's lithe silhouette, sheathed in a formal black suit.’
      • ‘Next-door Nepal offers a case study of vulgar tourism - Kathmandu is so choked with dark brown smog that the Everest is invisible on some days.’
      • ‘Riley buried the pen into his desk, the tip snapping off and flying off to some dark invisible corner.’
      • ‘She looked again at the nearly invisible church against the dark night sky.’
      • ‘It had invisible pockets on the insides to conceal small weapons.’
      • ‘He was dressed in cool tones, a brown that was almost blue, with a dark red thread near invisible beneath the fabric.’
      • ‘It is a proscenium theatre, but the proscenium arch is made almost invisible by its dark colour, uniting the audience and actor in a single room.’
      not visible, unseeable
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    2. 1.2 Treated as if unable to be seen; ignored or not taken into consideration.
      ‘before 1971 women artists were pretty well invisible’
      • ‘Folks don't like to be ignored or treated as if they are invisible.’
      • ‘But if I'm not invisible then all those people who completely ignore me must just be very rude indeed.’
      • ‘Graphic sex and violence bring to the fore what polite society refuses to acknowledge about its sadistic desires and invisible victims.’
      • ‘Maybe I was simply invisible to them, just air, because I am a woman of a certain age, and as such I barely register on any male's radar.’
      • ‘Several times I attempted to interact with the other women only to be treated as if I were invisible.’
      • ‘I don't know the other girls, and they treat me like I'm invisible.’
      • ‘As anyone who's ever met or worked with Merla will attest, he is not invisible in person.’
      • ‘We're brushing off the fact that she walked by me as though I was invisible and the fact that she said nothing of importance after my apology.’
      • ‘Of all the things that bothered me most over the last month, the thoughts and feelings that were attributed to me were inaccurate and made me feel that I was invisible.’
      • ‘How come they were so invisible to people who wanted to sing the same old song about the absence or passivity of the religious left?’
      • ‘There have been many moments in life when I really wished I was invisible, because the way I looked was drawing me attention I didn't want.’
      • ‘He was the only one who treated me as if I was invisible.’
      • ‘And at this age, when you're totally invisible, you really have to work three times as much just to stay where you are.’
      • ‘Because, she knew, home was where they were going to ignore her; home was where she was as invisible as a pedestrian along a road at night.’
      • ‘Considering that I am invisible, which means that I can't be labeled.’
      • ‘The work that needs to be done at the bottom is performed by increasingly desperate but invisible workers living on the insecure economic edge.’
      • ‘It's hard to take being treated like invisible people, or people who simply don't count.’
      • ‘You are feeling hurt too, but you still want to know why Oliver is treating you like you're invisible.’
      • ‘A non-political person is invisible to a politician; thus many of us are ignored when we try to speak out.’
      • ‘The feeling that they are invisible, forgotten and ignored runs deep.’
  • 2Economics
    Relating to or denoting earnings which a country makes from the sale of services or other items not constituting tangible commodities.

    ‘invisible exports’
    • ‘It is much easier and can be highly profitable to transmit invisible commodities.’
    • ‘Pragmatically it was also an attempt to assure the retention of London as a key international financial centre, with consequent invisible earnings accruing to the country.’
    • ‘Overseas construction is a critical source of foreign currency and invisible export earnings.’
    • ‘When invisible earnings are taken into account (from financial services, etc) the balance is the other way round.’
    • ‘Most of the Conservative cabinet objected that tariffs would raise food prices, hinder exports, and jeopardize the invisible earnings of the City of London.’


  • Invisible exports and imports.

    • ‘This data does not include software exports which are shown under invisibles.’
    • ‘These misleading perceptions are not helped by data on invisibles being less timely, frequent and certain than data on visible trade.’
    • ‘Our balance of payments got progressively worse and NZ started to borrow overseas to bridge the gap between our imports plus invisibles, and falling exports.’
    • ‘Substantial invisible earnings meant that Britain could sustain a trade deficit, the value of exports being less than imports, without experiencing a balance of payments deficit because invisibles added to exports exceeded imports.’
    • ‘Poor trade figures have been airily waved aside as irrelevant or of no consequence so long as oil and invisibles - investment inflows and earnings from travel, insurance and tourism - continued to boom.’


Middle English: from Old French, or from Latin invisibilis, from in- ‘not’ + visibilis (see visible).