First recorded in 1500–10; im-2 + palpable (Source:

Early 16th century from French, or from late Latin impalpabilis, from in- ‘not’ + palpabilis (see palpable). (Source:

Definitions of Impalpable



  1. not palpable; incapable of being perceived by the sense of touch; intangible.
  2. difficult for the mind to grasp readily or easily:
  3. (of powder) so fine that when rubbed between the fingers no grit is felt.
  4. imperceptible, esp to the touchimpalpable shadows
  5. difficult to understand; abstruse



  1. Unable to be felt by touch.



  1. : incapable of being felt by touch : intangible the impalpable aura of power that emanated from him— Osbert Sitwell
  2. : so finely divided that no grains or grit can be felt rock worn to an impalpable powder
  3. : not readily discerned by the mind impalpable evils

Example sentences for Impalpable

  1. Only the originals have a true, if impalpable, connection to that man and that moment of making.
  2. It is impossible to make marble imitate that which is impalpable.
  3. I tried to brush them away, but they were so impalpable that the movement of my hand did not disturb them at all.
  4. So light was her step that the living, moving body seemed to be as impalpable as its spirit image.
  5. The opposition had, to all appearance, dissolved into impalpable matter.
  6. At every step his foot sank in, and a fine cloud of impalpable ashes flew up into his face; and it was dark.

Related words & Synonyms

airy, delicate, fine, imperceptible, incorporeal, indiscernible, indistinct, insensible, insubstantial, nebulous, shadowy, tenuous, thin, vague, disembodied, imponderable, inappreciable, imprecise, unapparent

Nearby words

impair , impaired , impairment , impala , impale , impanation , impanel , impar , imparadise , imparipinnate

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