English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I want to tell a colleague of mine I'm doing something that will prevent her from getting "ununderstandable" errors. I have:

...so that you will not get unnecessary, [ununderstandable] errors.

After googling "ununderstandable", I see that there is no such word, but I'm still looking for something that sounds better.

share|improve this question
Surely, that would be "Derstandable"! (j/k) – Kaz Dragon May 24 '11 at 17:06
@KazDragon +Your joke was ununderstandable to many here. – Kris Oct 2 '12 at 8:27

11 Answers 11

up vote 44 down vote accepted

How about incomprehensible or unfathomable?

share|improve this answer
Incomprehensible is the one. – Claudiu Oct 14 '10 at 20:17
Incomprehensible is the first one that came to me as well. – Mr. Shiny and New 安宇 Oct 15 '10 at 15:17
Incomprehensible is good, as so is the second, though it should be reserved for stronger cases. – Noldorin Jan 22 '11 at 20:38

I prefer unintelligible.

share|improve this answer

Enigmatic, abstruse, obscure or cabalistic sound good to me.

share|improve this answer
To be honest, I already sent the mail, but I'll definitely use "obscure" next time. Thanks a lot. – Oren A Oct 14 '10 at 15:24

...so that you will not get unnecessary cryptic error messages.

share|improve this answer
cryptic is ununderstandable to many. – Kris Oct 2 '12 at 8:26

My recommendations are:

  • difficult-to-understand or impossible-to-understand
  • opaque
  • obtuse
share|improve this answer

I suppose indecipherable will be an acceptable replacement.

share|improve this answer

How about hyphenation: non-understandable?

share|improve this answer

I googled it, and here it is in the Urban Dictionary.


un·un·der·stand·a·ble {uhn-uhn-der-stan-duh-buhl}


incapable of being understood, failing to be understood correctly.

My Commentary:

I LOVE some of the answers. What a cool sight. The English language continues to evolve. Every year new grammar rules are created. To this board of Deciders I would suggest that if a word is google-able, then it should be able to be published. I guess it is ultimately the author's choice, depending on what is being writ. I am also of the kind of wordsmith [get-sic] that Likes to makeUp rules and Words.

"Being brain injured, the challenges we face are inexplicable, or at least, ununderstandable."

blog entry essay with "UNUNDERSTANDABLE"

share|improve this answer
Terms found only on Urban Dictionary are generally not acceptable in formal English writing. I could have down voted but you are new around here. And, I feel sorry about your brain injury. – Kris Oct 1 '12 at 11:05
Thank you! I still like the word ununderstandable even tho it might not actually be an official word. And, Thankyou for your kindness about my brain. – Rodleen Getsic Oct 3 '12 at 2:41


share|improve this answer
different meaning: "can be misunderstood" isn't "can't be understood". – TimLymington May 18 '11 at 20:32
While this link may answer the question, it is better to include the essential parts of the answer here and provide the link for reference. Link-only answers can become invalid if the linked page changes. – tchrist Aug 19 '12 at 4:38

The word ununderstandble is noted in Wiktionary though!

share|improve this answer
I personally never cite Wiktionary because there are huge gaps in their scholarship. You can't conclude anything from the existence of this entry. A good starting point for reputable references is OneLook.com (but it also links to some unreliable references such as Urban Dictionary). – MετάEd Mar 25 '13 at 23:48

protected by tchrist Jul 7 '14 at 0:02

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site.

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.