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In biology, hierarchical clustering is used to separate studied samples into different groups, thus if successful, the clustering criteria can be seen to "discriminate" between group A vs. B.

I am stuck trying to find an appropriate word to convey that two samples are so similar that they are "indiscriminable". It appears as that's not a word featured in dictionaries. I have tried "indiscernable" and that doesn't sound right either, neither does "inseparable".

What is a good adjective to use in this case? Should I try to rephrase my sentence?


PS: Please consider that this question refers to academic writing (in other words, "formal register" only).

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    Indiscriminable has certainly been used. It seems a good technical word.
    – Andrew Leach
    Mar 8, 2013 at 12:45
  • What about "almost perfectly analogous"? Mar 8, 2013 at 15:03
  • @rhetorician not sure if that would be clear enough to the audience of the article.
    – posdef
    Mar 8, 2013 at 15:06

1 Answer 1

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You are very likely looking for indistinguishable:

adjective
not able to be identified as different or distinct:
the counterfeit bills were virtually indistinguishable from the real thing

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  • is there a nuance difference between "indiscriminable" and "indistinguishable"?
    – posdef
    Mar 8, 2013 at 12:51
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    @posdef Perhaps not in practice. But indiscriminable appears to be a word that people use because it sounds like it exists. Googling "hierarchical clustering indiscriminable" vs. "hierarchical clustering indistinguishable" should set the matter at rest. Mar 8, 2013 at 13:02
  • Thanks, I accepted your answer as it addresses the question as it stands. I wonder however if there is another word I can use (it appears as one of my references use exactly that phrasing which I would avoid to duplicate). Does in-/non-discriminative fit, seeing as discriminative seems to be adjective form of "discriminate"?
    – posdef
    Mar 8, 2013 at 13:23
  • @posdef No, I don't think that they are proper or commonly used words. The fact that oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/discriminable is defined as being synonymous with distinguishable further strengthens the case for indistinguishable. Mar 8, 2013 at 13:39

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