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I'm looking for a word or even scientific term to describe something being so large it is beyond rational comprehension?

closed as off-topic by Skooba, marcellothearcane, Scott, user240918, jimm101 Feb 23 '18 at 21:09

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  • "Questions on choosing an ideal word or phrase must include information on how it will be used in order to be answered. For help writing a good word or phrase request, see: About single word requests" – Skooba, Scott, jimm101
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  • Are you looking for a noun, or an adjective? – spoko Feb 22 '18 at 17:33
  • But scientists (specifically, pure mathematicians) routinely deal with numbers that are incredibly large. For example, imagine our entire universe was the equivalent of a single atom in a larger "containing" universe, then sum up all the "contained" atoms within that. Mathematicians comprehend perfectly well that - big as it is - that number is actually closer to zero than it is to an infinite number. – FumbleFingers Feb 22 '18 at 17:54
  • And, of course, mathematicians understand many different values of infinity.   (The technical term for that is ‘‘transfinite cardinals’’.) – Scott Feb 23 '18 at 20:20
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I have two suggestions.

The first, fitting your description so large it is beyond rational comprehension, is inconceivable:

impossible to imagine or think of (Cambridge)

Or even just go straight for incomprehensibly big / numerous / etc.

One of the most appropriate adjectives (as it works in so many contexts), though, is astronomical, which fits the sense of scale you evoked.

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It is so large it is imponderable.

Imponderable:

adjective
1. not ponderable; that cannot be precisely determined, measured, or evaluated. noun
2. an imponderable thing, force, agency, etc.

Source: Merriam-Webster

  • 1
    Please cite quotations correctly. A link is not enough, and there isn't even a link here. – Andrew Leach Feb 22 '18 at 18:34
  • @AndrewLeach aye aye and thanks ... i thought i had but obviously i did not! – lbf Feb 22 '18 at 19:28
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Immeasurable could suggest that it is beyond the scope of human measurement:

incapable of being measured; limitless - Dictionary.com

Likewise inordinate could suggest something beyond normal limits:

not within proper or reasonable limits; immoderate; excessive - Dictionary.com

Prodigious means extraordinarily large, but not so much so that it's beyond comprehension:

extraordinary in size, amount, extent, degree, force, etc. - Dictionary.com

Or you could simply add "incomprehensibly" or "numinously" before any adjective meaning large, e.g. "numinously massive", "incomprehensibly huge".

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I would suggest 'immense'.

  1. Unmeasured; so great that it has not been or cannot be measured; immeasurably large; of boundless extent; infinite. ? Obs.

OED

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I suggest

  • Infinite: Having no boundaries or limits; impossible to measure or calculate

  • Transcendent: 1. Surpassing others; preeminent or supreme; 2. superior or supreme.

  • Inscrutable: Difficult to understand or interpret; impenetrable

  • Incomparable: 1. Being such that comparison is impossible; incommensurable; 2. So outstanding as to be beyond comparison; unsurpassed.

  • Incommensurable: 1. Impossible to measure or compare; 2. Lacking a common quality on which to make a comparison.

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