For instance, profit margins are concrete, observable numbers whereas human needs can't easily be quantified.

The sentence I'm trying to write is:

Due to the fact that human needs are ______, ...

  • 6
    intangible or abstract, immaterial, etc. If you don't like any of those, they still might be a good place to start looking for synonyms. Oct 3, 2017 at 15:59
  • Intangible is exactly what I'm looking for, thanks!
    – bhav1001
    Oct 3, 2017 at 16:05
  • not quantifiable Jun 11, 2023 at 18:32

2 Answers 2


@FumbleFingers suggested in a comment that you could use intangible, abstract, or immaterial.

intangible: unable to be touched or grasped; not having physical presence (Oxford Languages)

abstract: existing in thought or as an idea but not having a physical or concrete existence (Oxford Languages)

immaterial: not consisting of matter : INCORPOREAL (Merriam-Webster)

  • I would consider using the word virtual. Or even, if the context allows—spiritual.
    – Cass Lopez
    Jun 10, 2023 at 21:51

I'd probably opt for impalpable, as two of the [sub/]senses overlap nicely here:

impalpable [adjective]

1a: incapable of being felt by touch: intangible

  • the impalpable aura of power that emanated from him — Osbert Sitwell


impalpable [adjective]:

difficult to feel or [fully] understand:

  • an impalpable beauty ...

[Cambridge Dictionary]


While abstract also carries these senses, I feel its other senses exert an undesirable pull.

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