There are experiences such as colors, smells or taste which you can not be properly explained to others.
For example there would be no way to find out if a person sees what I think of as 'green' whenever I see 'red' and the other way round because the experience is entirely subjective.
If I recall correctly the term is very specific to this kind of thing and starts with an I, but I might be mistaken.

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    Ineffable means too great or extreme for words – Unrelated Feb 12 '17 at 10:05
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    You've already got it - "incommunicable". – Lawrence Feb 13 '17 at 11:43
  • The reason you may be thinking of an 'I' is because the example you provide concerning colors is called the inverted spectrum in philosophy... You may also be thinking of the word introspective. – GoldenGremlin Feb 13 '17 at 21:23
  • Look at the article on qualia. Is this describing what you mean? – ab2 Feb 14 '17 at 0:13
  • ab2: Yes, I think it is! Thank you so much, finally this mystery of mine is resolved. With the years my memories must've added the 'i' and 'adjective' making it just that much harder to find. What would be the best way to deal with this situation in terms of this question? – hyperfekt Feb 14 '17 at 17:23

It doesn't start with I, but the word the OP is trying to remember may be qualia. I found it by following the breadcrumb trail of incommunicable and ineffable through the Google jungle.

Qualia, from Wikipedia:

In philosophy and certain models of psychology, qualia (/ˈkwɑːliə/ or /ˈkweɪliə/; singular form: quale) are individual instances of subjective, conscious experience. The term qualia derives from the Latin neuter plural form (qualia) of the Latin adjective quālis (Latin pronunciation: [ˈkʷaːlɪs]) meaning "of what sort" or "of what kind". Examples of qualia include the pain of a headache, the taste of wine, and the perceived redness of an evening sky. As qualitative characters of sensation, qualia stand in contrast to "propositional attitudes. (emphasis added.)

Philosophy is absolutely not my strong suit, and I cannot expand on this quotation; this is purely a cut and paste answer.

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I believe the word you are looking for is "ineffable".

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    Thanks for your first answer. It could be helpful to include a definition from somewhere and why you think this is useful to the poster. – Keeta - reinstate Monica Oct 12 '18 at 18:49

A common term is:

inexplicable : The experience was inexplicable.


indescribable: The experience was indescribable

Also: "indefinable", "inexpressible" for incommunicable.

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  • Those are definitely good, but the term was something that quite specifically referred to the phenomenon I described. Thanks a lot for your effort though! – hyperfekt Feb 13 '17 at 10:57

You could be looking for a form of interpretation


  • To conceive in the light of individual belief, judgment, or circumstance

How should we interpret what we just saw?


You don't know what color the other is seeing because their brain interprets or perceives light differently. Same goes for smell, taste, sound, and sight.

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