I am of the understanding the term applies only to physical text (print or handwriting). Or at the very least applies only to that which you can see. Not what you can hear. Is this the correct use of the term "legible"?

Example statement (on skype, person #1 has/and is aware of a connection problem and his voice is coming though somewhat distorted but his words are discernible) : Person #1:Hey can you make out what I am saying? Person #2: Yes indeed, you are legible. Person #3 : yeah man, You are coming in legible.

Is this the correct use of the term "legible"?

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    Legible is usually only used for physical text, as you have already stated. Maybe you're looking for understandable or clear? – ShadowyIce Jun 23 '16 at 9:06
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    Your example conversation just looks like something a couple of people might have said on the phone in some other language, passed through a computer translation routine. If they were native Anglophones, it would be "Hey, can you hear me?", "Loud and clear!" – FumbleFingers Jun 23 '16 at 11:36
  • "Intelligible" is another term, though it also includes the question of whether the speaker is making sense vs talking nonsense or with an excessively strong accent. "Audible", on the other hand, does not imply that you can understand what is said, only that you can sense that sounds are being made. – Hot Licks Jun 23 '16 at 12:10
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    @FumbleFingers is not uncommon for people communicating by radio to speak of reading as in "do you read me?" I've never heard of this extending to the use of the word legible, however. – phoog Jun 23 '16 at 15:39

In summary, "legible" is not the idiomatically correct term to use to indicate that audible voice sounds are intelligible. If you use the term it might be understood as you desire, but could cause confusion.

You can, as described above, use "audible","intelligible", "discernible", "hearable", "recognizable", "readable", "loud and clear", and a few others to indicate successful reception of the audio.

But note that one would not normally say "You are coming in audible", but rather "You are audible." "Coming in" would be reserved for "You are coming in loud and clear", and a few other idiomatic terms.


M-W licenses the broadening of the application of 'legible' to include other 'readable language':

Full Definition of legible

1 : capable of being read or deciphered : plain

2 : capable of being discovered or understood


an anxious mood that was clearly legible upon her face

As does AHDEL,

  1. Plainly discernible; apparent: a legible weakness in disposition.

Collins, and RHK Webster's:

  1. capable of being discerned or distinguished: Anger was legible in his behavior.

However, applying this metaphorical broadening to the clarity of sound (reception) would be non-standard and unwise.


No, that's not the correct use of "legible", which is for writing. The right word for speech is "intelligible".

From https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/intelligible:

Use the adjective intelligible to describe speech that is loud and clear, like the intelligible words of your principal which, thanks to a microphone, you were able to hear.


You are looking for the word 'audible'.

So if you are asking someone if he/she can hear you on the phone/skype, you'd say:

Am I audible?

  • The Q. is not about whether something is 'audible' (can be heard), but about "can you make out what I am saying?" (can be understood). – TrevorD May 2 '19 at 15:44

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