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From Latin indelebilis (indestructible).


  • IPA(key): /ɪnˈdɛləbl/
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indelible (comparative more indelible, superlative most indelible)

  1. Having the quality of being difficult to delete, remove, wash away, blot out, or efface.
    Synonym: unerasable
    Antonyms: delible, uninsertable
    This ink spot on the contract is indelible.
    This stain on my shirt is indelible.
    Written with indelible pen.
    • 1834, Letitia Elizabeth Landon, Francesca Carrara, volume 2, page 235:
      The brow was smooth and fair; no deep thought, born of deep feeling, had grown there—those indelible lines which stamp even youth with age.
  2. (figuratively) Incapable of being canceled, lost, or forgotten.
    Synonyms: unerasable, unforgettable
    That horrible story just might make an indelible impression on the memory.
    • 2014 August 29, Ruzwana Bashir, “The untold story of how a culture of shame perpetuates abuse. I know, I was a victim”, in The Guardian[1]:
      During our investigation it became clear that for three decades many other women had suffered at the hands of our abuser, but they had refused to testify against him because of the indelible stigma it would bring.
    • 2020 April 16, Patricia Cohen, “Straggling in a Good Economy, and Now Struggling in a Crisis”, in New York Times[2]:
      An indelible image from the Great Depression features a well-dressed family seated with their dog in a comfy car, smiling down from an oversize billboard on weary souls standing in line at a relief agency.
  3. Incapable of being annulled.
    • November 7, 1678, Thomas Sprat, a sermon preached at the Anniversary Meeting of the Sons of Clergymen in the Church of St Mary-le-Bow
      They are [] endued with indelible power from above.

Related terms[edit]


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