unutterable

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

un- +‎ utterable

Pronunciation[edit]

  • (UK) IPA(key): /ʌnˈʌt(ə)ɹəbl̩/, /ʌnˈʌt(ə)ɹəbəl/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˌʌnˈʌtɚəbl̩/, /ˌʌnˈʌtɚəbəl/, [ˌʌnˈʌɾɚ.ɪ̈bl̩]

Adjective[edit]

unutterable (comparative more unutterable, superlative most unutterable)

  1. Not utterable; incapable of being spoken or voiced; inexpressible; ineffable; unspeakable.
    unutterable anguish.
    • 1674, John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book 11, lines 3-8,[1]
      Prevenient grace descending had removed
      The stony from their hearts, and made new flesh
      Regenerate grow instead; that sighs now breathed
      Unutterable; which the Spirit of prayer
      Inspired, and winged for Heaven with speedier flight
      Than loudest oratory: []
    • 1751, Tobias Smollett, The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle, Chapter 20,[2]
      [] he was caressed by all the people in the neighbourhood, who, while they admired his accomplishments, could not help pitying his infatuated mother, for being deprived of that unutterable delight which any other parent would have enjoyed in the contemplation of such an amiable son.
    • 1818, Jane Austen, Persuasion, Chapter 12,[3]
      [] in this manner, Anne walking by her side, and Charles attending to his wife, they set forward, treading back with feelings unutterable, the ground, which so lately, so very lately, and so light of heart, they had passed along.
    • 1850, Charles Dickens, David Copperfield, Chapter 17,[4]
      How often have I seen him, intent upon a match at marbles or pegtop, looking on with a face of unutterable interest, and hardly breathing at the critical times!
    • 1964, Martin Luther King Jr., Nobel lecture, Oslo, Norway, 11 December, 1964, cited in Suzy Platt (ed.), Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations Requested from the Congressional Research Service, Washington D.C.: Library of Congress, 1989,[5]
      Occasionally in life there are those moments of unutterable fulfillment which cannot be completely explained by those symbols called words. Their meanings can only be articulated by the inaudible language of the heart.

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