See also: inénarrable

English edit

Etymology edit

Learned borrowing from French inénarrable, from Latin inēnārrābilis (indescribable), from in- (prefix meaning ‘not’) + ēnārrābilis (describable, explainable). Ēnārrābilis is derived from ēnārrāre[1] + -bilis (suffix forming adjectives indicating a capacity or worth of being acted upon); ēnārrāre is the present active infinitive of ēnārrō (to explain in detail, expound), from ē- (a variant of ex- (prefix meaning ‘away; out; thoroughly’)) + narrō (to say; to relate, tell; to describe; to recount, report) (ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *ǵneh₃- (to know)). The English word is analysable as in- +‎ enarrable.

Pronunciation edit

Adjective edit

inenarrable (comparative more inenarrable, superlative most inenarrable)

  1. (formal, literary) That cannot be told; indescribable, inexpressible, unspeakable.
    Synonyms: unnarratable; see also Thesaurus:indescribable
    Antonyms: (obsolete, rare) enarrable, explainable, expressible, narratable; see also Thesaurus:describable
    • 1508, John Fisher, “This Treatyse Concernynge the Fruytful Saynges of Dauyd the Kynge & Prophete in the Seuen Penytencyall Psalmes. [] [Psalm CII.]”, in John E[yton] B[ickersteth] Mayor, compiler, The English Works of John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester [] Part I (Extra Series; XXVII), London: Published for the Early English Text Society, by N[icholas] Trübner & Co., [], published 1876, →OCLC, page 196:
      For where almyghty god is reſydent all thynges be good, whoſe goodnes is inenarrable and euerlaſtynge.
    • 1548, Aonio Paleario, “Certain Remedies against Incredulity or Unbelief”, in Edward Courtenay, Earl of Devonshire, transl., The Benefit of Christ’s Death: [], London: Bell & Daldy; Cambridge, Cambridgeshire: Deighton, Bell, & Co., published 1855, →OCLC, page 172:
      And Saint Peter saith that whoso believe in Christ, although they be afflicted with divers temptations, yet they rejoice with a glorious and inenarrable joyfulness.
    • a. 1556, David Lindsay [i.e., David Lyndsay], “The Monarchy; or, Ane Dialogue betwixt Experience and Ane Courtier of the Miserable Estate of the World”, in J[ohn] Ross, editor, The Book of Scottish Poems Ancient and Modern [], Edinburgh: The Edinburgh Publishing Company; London: Simpkin, Marshall & Co., published 1884, →OCLC, stanza XXV, page 292, column 2:
      The heavenly sound which shall be inenarrable, / Into their ears continually shall ring. / And eke the sight of Christ Jesus our King.
    • 1601, C[aius] Plinius Secundus [i.e., Pliny the Elder], “[Book XXXVII.] Of Diamants and Their Sundrie Kinds. Their Vertues and Properties Medicinable. Of Pearles.”, in Philemon Holland, transl., The Historie of the World. Commonly Called, The Naturall Historie of C. Plinius Secundus. [], 2nd tome, London: [] Adam Islip, published 1635, →OCLC, page 610:
      VVonderfull and inenarrable is the hardneſſe of a Diamant: beſides it hath a Nature to conquer the furie of fire, nay, you ſhall never make it hote, doe what you can: for this untamable vertue that it hath, the Greekes have given it the name Adamas.
    • [1611?], Homer, “Book II”, in Geo[rge] Chapman, transl., The Iliads of Homer Prince of Poets. [], London: [] Nathaniell Butter, →OCLC; The Iliads of Homer, Prince of Poets, [], new edition, volume I, London: Charles Knight and Co., [], 1843, →OCLC, page 63:
      The princes then, and navy that did bring / Those so inenarrable troops, and all their soils, I sing.
      The spelling has been modernized.
    • 1877, John Davidson, “An Unhistorical Pastoral”, in Plays by John Davidson [], London: [Charles] Elkin Mathews and John Lane; Chicago, Ill.: Stone and Kimball, published 1894, →OCLC, act V, scene i, page 66:
      The pleasance of our starry residence, / In human, bald speech inenarrable, / Transcends your dreams of Arcady and Eden.
    • 1880, E. Seguin [i.e., Édouard Séguin], “Physiological Infant-school”, in Report on Education, 2nd edition, Milwaukee, Wis.: Doerflinger Book & Publishing Co., →OCLC, pages 29–30:
      Who has not kept, at least, a vague remembrance of this state of our infant bosom when it was permitted to saturate itself, without admixture of forcing reasons and reasoning, with the emotions produced by new contacts, new movements, new colors, new sounds, new voices, new associations, new sceneries, new people; [] But how few children are allowed the inenarrable delicacies of this education by the sympathies!
    • 1914, Rupert Brooke, “[The South Seas.] The Great Lover”, in 1914 and Other Poems, London: Sidgwick & Jackson [], published 1915, →OCLC, page 24:
      Shall I not crown them with immortal praise / Whom I have loved, who have given me, dared with me / High secrets, and in darkness knelt to see / The inenarrable godhead of delight?
    • 2000, Glen A. Love, “The Ecological Short Story”, in Blanche H. Gelfant, Lawrence Graver, editors, The Columbia Companion to the Twentieth-century American Short Story, New York, N.Y.: Columbia University Press, →ISBN, part I (Thematic Essays), page 55, column 1:
      The following pages develop the byplay [in Ernest Hemingway's short story The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber (1936)] between Macomber's selfish ignorance and Wilson's awareness, though they convey also that any level of human awareness is unmatched by the inenarrable purposefulness of he lion, who knows only its suffering and what it must do.
    • 2018, Inela Selimović, “Minors and Homebound Violence”, in Affective Moments in the Films of Martel, Carri, and Puenzo, London: Palgrave Macmillan, Springer Nature, →DOI, →ISBN, page 47:
      These scenes—filled with interpersonal violence, killings, and verbal and physical abuse—gradually become the inenarrable episodes in the film, episodes that tense up or challenge their own narrative flow.

Related terms edit

Translations edit

References edit

  1. ^ inenarrable, adj.”, in OED Online  , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, March 2021.

Spanish edit

Etymology edit

From Latin inēnarrābilis.

Adjective edit

inenarrable m or f (masculine and feminine plural inenarrables)

  1. unspeakable, inenarrable

Further reading edit