Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Not perceptible to the touch; intangible.
  • adjective Difficult to perceive or grasp by the mind.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Incapable of being perceived by touch; wanting palpable substance or consistency; too unsubstantial or too fine to be felt.
  • Hence That cannot be grasped by the intellect; incomprehensible; intangible: as, impalpable distinctions.
  • Synonyms Imperceptible, intangible, unsubstantial.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Not palpable; that cannot be felt; extremely fine, so that no grit can be perceived by touch.
  • adjective Not material; intangible; incorporeal.
  • adjective Not apprehensible, or readily apprehensible, by the mind; unreal.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Not able to be perceived by the senses (especially by touch); intangible or insubstantial

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective imperceptible to the senses or the mind
  • adjective not perceptible to the touch
  • adjective incapable of being perceived by the senses especially the sense of touch

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From im- +‎ palpable

Examples

  • If we want endless, satisfying blue, we must look up to where it dwells in impalpable space, shining like solid enamel, or liquid and vague.

    The Spring of Joy: A Little Book of Healing

  • As for microscopic lesions, once detected in mammograms, a doctor is duty bound to treat them as there is no way of knowing whether these early "impalpable" cancers will be aggressive or harmless.

    Pink Alert

  • All sorts of higher abstractions bring with them the same kind of impalpable appeal.

    The Varieties of Religious Experience

  • All sorts of higher abstractions bring with them the same kind of impalpable appeal.

    Varieties of Religious Experience, a Study in Human Nature

  • You who listen to me Sunday after Sunday will not suspect me of seeking to minimise either of these two aspects of our Lord's mission and operation, but I do believe that very largely the glad thought of an indwelling Christ, who actually abides and works in our hearts, and is not only for us in the heavens, or with us by some kind of impalpable and metaphorical presence, but in simple, that is to say, in spiritual reality is in our spirits, has faded away from the consciousness of the

    Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians; Epistles of St. Peter and St. John

  • Imagine, further, this sand to be invisible, impalpable, yet to retain all the weight and density of sand.

    THE HEATHEN

  • Consider it mud, invisible, impalpable, but heavy as mud.

    THE HEATHEN

  • Imagine, further, this sand to be invisible, impalpable, yet to retain all the weight and density of sand.

    THE HEATHEN

  • These drawings adorno contact with real real power and varied assortment varies impalpable awakening and elegant ideas.

    Ornament Serenity | SciFi, Fantasy & Horror Collectibles

  • Though the pack rat typically cuts a reclusive figure, Gavin Pretor-Pinney is an exception: a man who loves the open air and collects impalpable things that will never clutter shelves, gather dust or annoy spouses.

    Cirrus Concerns

Comments

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  • *squints*

    September 10, 2008

  • Usage on gunpowder.

    October 14, 2008