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ineffable


They were mystical experiences and were ineffable (incapable of being described in words).
Religion - MSN Encarta  --  http://encarta.msn.com/text_761565187___0/Religion.html(retrieved 05/21/06)
  something that cannot be put into words
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ineffable ineffably ineffability
Notes:
Generally, the connotation is that something that is ineffable cannot be put into words because words cannot express the positive emotion or because it is too great such as a name for God.
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Samples:
  • They were mystical experiences and were ineffable (incapable of being described in words).
    Religion - MSN Encarta  --  http://encarta.msn.com/text_761565187___0/Religion.html(retrieved 05/21/06)
  • She had been housed with the captain while the rest of them had gone on to entertain the commander; the doctor had reserved her, implying to the commander that she was not a virgin like the others, who would offer him the salubrious and then other ineffable effects of his taking their maidenhood, which to a soldier is like an amulet of life and rebirth.
    Chang-rae Lee  --  A Gesture Life
  • There was an air of such ineffable peace and joy all around her that her heart’s wild thumping slowed.
    Madeleine L’Engle  --  A Wrinkle in Time
  • This helps to explain my ineffably sad dream, where, hotly embracing Leslie once more on the couch, I managed at last to fondle one bare breast, which, however, felt like a soggy ball of dough beneath my hand, itself tightly imprisoned within the rim of a murderous brassiere made of wormwood and wire.
    William Styron  --  Sophie’s Choice

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  • The hearing of those wild notes always depressed my spirit, and filled me with ineffable sadness.
    Frederick Douglass  --  The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
  • Incandescent rainbows shone above it, blue, red, and golden lights played about it; but the stream itself was white, ineffable.
    Upton Sinclair  --  The Jungle
  • He smiled with an ineffably benign superiority.
    Bram Stoker  --  Dracula
  • A universe of ineffable gaudiness spun itself out in his brain while the clock ticked on the wash-stand and the moon soaked with wet light his tangled clothes upon the floor.
    F. Scott Fitzgerald  --  The Great Gatsby
  • So many times she’d tried to draw him, she thought, tried to capture that ineffable quality that made Jace himself, but her fingers had never been able to get what she saw down on paper.
    Cassandra Clare  --  City of Lost Souls
  • Will I, nill I, the ineffable thing has tied me to him; tows me with a cable I have no knife to cut.
    Herman Melville  --  Moby Dick

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  • I could see-the ineffable way they looked at me.
    Truman Capote  --  In Cold Blood
  • She sighed a sigh of ineffable satisfaction, as if her cup of happiness were now full.
    Charlotte Bronte  --  Jane Eyre
  • Morrel listened to catch the last sound of her dress brushing the branches, and of her footstep on the gravel, then raised his eyes with an ineffable smile of thankfulness to heaven for being permitted to be thus loved, and then also disappeared.
    Alexandre Dumas  --  The Count of Monte Cristo
  • He remembered the magnificent voice he had heard in the lobby of the strike meeting, and he imagined a giant of a man, with a rich mane of hair, perhaps just turning gray, with bold, broad features of an ineffable benevolence, something vaguely like the countenance of God the Father.
    Ayn Rand  --  The Fountainhead
  • It remained, however, gentle and veiled in an ineffable half-light.
    Victor Hugo  --  Les Miserables
  • Here comes such a subtile and ineffable quality, for instance, as truth or justice, though the slightest amount or new variety of it, along the road.
    Henry David Thoreau  --  Walden
  • At the bottom of the steps she stands waiting, with a smile of ineffable joy, an attitude of matchless grace and dignity.
    Ambrose Bierce  --  An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge
  • Limbo is packed with little black babies flying around and crying for their mothers because they’ll never be admitted to the ineffable presence of Our Lord and the glorious company of saints, martyrs, virgins.
    Frank McCourt  --  Angela’s Ashes
  • Sometimes a mischievous child risked his skin and bones for the ineffable pleasure of driving a pin into Quasimodo’s hump.
    Victor Hugo  --  The Hunchback of Notre Dame
  • On her face there was a look of ineffable content.
    Willa Cather  --  O Pioneers!
  • Thus while God spake, ambrosial fragrance fill’d All Heaven, and in the blessed Spirits elect Sense of new joy ineffable diffus’d.
    John Milton  --  Paradise Lost
  • How she longed for the ineffable sentiments of love that she had tried to figure to herself out of books!
    Gustave Flaubert  --  Madame Bovary
  • Her lips trembled into a smile, but the eyes remained distant and serious, as if bent on some ineffable vision.
    Edith Wharton  --  The Age of Innocence
  • Through the scene between Marguerite and the elder Duval, Lena wept unceasingly, and I sat helpless to prevent the closing of that chapter of idyllic love, dreading the return of the young man whose ineffable happiness was only to be the measure of his fall.
    Willa Cather  --  My Antonia
  • Her ineffable charm keeps ever calling us to the true goal of all of us, to the ideal, to perfection.
    Thomas Hardy  --  Jude the Obscure
  • To him, the spirit lodged within Billy, and looking out from his welkin eyes as from windows, that ineffability it was which made the dimple in his dyed cheek, suppled his joints, and dancing in his yellow curls made him preeminently the Handsome Sailor.
    Herman Melville  --  Billy Budd
  • Those leaping horses, striking sparks from the cobbles in their forward lunge, were creatures to be ineffably admired.
    Stephen Crane  --  Maggie: A Girl of the Streets
  • Bill is puffing and blowing, but there is a look of ineffable peace and growing content on his rose-pink features.
    O. Henry  --  The Ransom of Red Chief
  • No sense of the irony of human existence, that we are the highest form of life on earth and yet ineffably sad because we know what no other animal knows, that we must die.
    Don DeLillo  --  White Noise
  • What is understood is that time and eternity are two aspects of the same experience-whole, two planes of the same nondual ineffable; i.
    Joseph Campbell  --  The Hero With a Thousand Faces
  • "You don’t expect anybody to believe this, about the lady and the sovereign, do you?" says the constable, eyeing him aside with ineffable disdain.
    Charles Dickens  --  Bleak House
  • It is a song of love for one’s far distant country, it is informed with longing for that land where they shall not hurt or destroy in all that holy mountain, for that unattainable and ineffable land where there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, for the land that cannot be again, of hills and grass and bracken, the land where you were born.
    Alan Paton  --  Cry, the Beloved Country
  • He felt an ineffable love for her.
    Milan Kundera  --  The Unbearable Lightness of Being
  • It passed, with simple and immortal movements, scattering on every side the bounties of its grace, smiling ineffably still; but Swann thought that he could now discern in it some disenchantment.
    Marcel Proust  --  Swann’s Way
  • Her eyes were open and she was staring at me with a look ineffably grieving.
    Pat Conroy  --  The Lords of Discipline
  • Edmund Quincy spoke bitterly of the "ineffable meanness of the lion turned spaniel in his fawnings on the masters whose hands he was licking for the sake of the dirty puddings they might have to toss to him."
    John F. Kennedy  --  Profiles in Courage
  • Miss Squeers made no more direct reply than surveying her former friend from top to toe, and elevating her nose in the air with ineffable disdain.
    Charles Dickens  --  Nicholas Nickleby
  • Now it was an even slower process as I agonized over the perfect word, the precise rhyme scheme, the most playful image, and the most ineffable analog to the most elusive emotion.
    Dan Simmons  --  Hyperion
  • Can a man who by divine meditations is admitted as it were into the conversation of this ineffable, incomprehensible Majesty, think days, or years, or ages, too long for the continuance of so ravishing an honour?
    Henry Fielding  --  Tom Jones
  • He began with being a young man of promise; at Oxford he distinguished himself, to his father’s ineffable satisfaction, and the people about him said it was a thousand pities so clever a fellow should be shut out from a career.
    Henry James  --  The Portrait of a Lady - Volumes 1 & 2
  • Lydgate turned his dark eyes on her and watched her as she delicately handled the tea-service with her taper fingers, and looked at the objects immediately before her with no curve in her face disturbed, and yet with an ineffable protest in her air against all people with unpleasant manners.
    George Eliot  --  Middlemarch
  • …one in the government who even knew who they were, while this very month there were no seats left for the Ramon Caralt company that performed detective dramas, for the Operetta and Zarzuela Company of Don Manolo de la Presa, for the Santanelas, ineffable mimics, illusionists, and artistes, who could change their clothes on stage in the wink of an eye, for Danyse D’Altaine, advertised as a former dancer with the Folies-Bergere, and even for the abominable Ursus, a Basque madman who took…
    Gabriel Garcia Marquez  --  Love in the Time of Cholera
  • So, then, he felt himself ineffably superior to me in every respect!
    Fyodor Dostoyevsky  --  Notes from the Underground
  • I know how men will say this, to describe that womanly affect they find ineffable.
    Chang-rae Lee  --  Native Speaker
  • The ineffable sweetness of your divine gaze Shattered my stout heart and set it ablaze.
    Jean-Baptiste Poquelin Moliere  --  Tartuffe
  • There was an ineffable quality about Mrs. Serto’s daughter now.
    Eudora Welty  --  The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty
  • She submitted, still with her pure, trusting smile, in which there was something ineffably passive.
    Henry James  --  The Portrait of a Lady - Volume 2
  • The scene between the captive girl and her master was both ineffably mysterious and shamelessly frank.
    Boris Pasternak  --  Doctor Zhivago
  • "You don’t believe me, I suppose," went on the other, with an air of ineffable conceit.
    Joseph Conrad  --  Lord Jim
  • I yearn for it; and when I drink it I savour every drop, and afterwards I feel my soul swimming in ineffable happiness.
    W. Somerset Maugham  --  Of Human Bondage
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Associated words [difficulty]:   ineffable [4]
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