I was looking up the longest words in certain works of fiction when I discovered this monstrosity: uninterpenetratingly. It is used in Chapter 108 of Moby Dick as follows:

How dost thou know that some entire, living, thinking thing may not be invisibly and uninterpenetratingly standing precisely where thou now standest; aye, and standing there in thy spite?

However I am still unsure as to the meaning of this word, as I could not find it in any dictionaries. Does anyone know what it means?

  • Decompose into roots.
    – keshlam
    Commented Dec 8, 2015 at 23:23

1 Answer 1


Collins defines interpenetrate as:


  1. to penetrate (something) thoroughly; pervade

  2. to penetrate each other or one another mutually

Under Derived Forms is listed:

interˈpenetratively adverb

So uninterpenetratingly means, "not in a thoroughly penetrating or pervasive way."

To stand invisible and uninterpenetratingly is to stand in a way that can not be seen or felt because it has no detectable effect on you.

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