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Impalpable

adjective
1.
Incapable of being perceived by the senses especially the sense of touch.  Synonym: intangible.
2.
Imperceptible to the senses or the mind.  "Impalpable shadows" , "Impalpable distinctions" , "As impalpable as a dream"
3.
Not perceptible to the touch.






WordNet 3.0 © 2010 Princeton University








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"Impalpable" Quotes from Famous Books



... sparkling most conspicuously on the very centre of the arch, and wrote his own insignificant name in its place. This was his fashion of securing immortality! It is well that fairies and giants are powerless in the nineteenth century, else had the indignant genii of the cave crushed his bones to impalpable powder. ...
— The International Monthly Magazine, Volume 5, No. 1, January, 1852 • Various

... that the water should move or drift transversely to lines of ore passing, while held in suspension with water, down a smooth sloping surface. In dealing with some very light classes of ore, and especially such as may naturally crush very fine—that is to say, with a large proportion of impalpable "slimes"—there is a decided advantage in causing the water to drift sidelong on the smooth shelf by other means than the motion in a ...
— Twentieth Century Inventions - A Forecast • George Sutherland

... in a sky which scarcely ever knows a cloud; a dust so impalpable that, even while it powders the heavens with gold, it leaves them their infinite transparency. It is a dust of remote ages, of things destroyed; a dust that is here continually—of which the gold at this moment fades to green at the zenith, but flames and glistens in ...
— Egypt (La Mort De Philae) • Pierre Loti

... that even the greatest straits might be passed without having recourse to so dangerous a medium; how all the facts in the history of paper-money would be brought forward to prove both sides of the question, but how the underlying principle, subtile, impalpable, might still elude them all, as for thirty-five years longer it still continued to elude wise statesmen and thoughtful economists; how, at last, some impatient spirit, breaking through the untimely delay, sternly asked them what else they proposed to do. By what alchemy would they ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 14, No. 85, November, 1864 • Various

... An ill-balanced nature reveals itself by a discord, as an illogical mind by a fallacy. A man need not compose an epic on a system of philosophy to write himself down an ass. And, inversely, a great mind and a noble nature may show itself by impalpable but recognisable signs within the 'sonnet's scanty plot of ground.' Once more, the highest poetry must be that which expresses not only the richest but the healthiest nature. Disease means an absence or a want of balance of certain faculties, ...
— Hours in a Library - New Edition, with Additions. Vol. II (of 3) • Leslie Stephen

... light scourge of society, and the terror of genius. Ridicule surrounds him with her chimeras, which, like the shadowy monsters opposing aeneas, are impalpable to his strokes: but remember when the sibyl bade the hero proceed without noticing them, he found these airy nothings as harmless as they were unreal. The habits of the literary character will, however, be tried by the men and women of the world ...
— Literary Character of Men of Genius - Drawn from Their Own Feelings and Confessions • Isaac D'Israeli

... beseech but of your exquisite mercy to refrain mouldering the clay composition of my unworthy body to impalpable dust, by the refulgence of those bright stars vulgarly called eyes, till I have lawfully wreaked my vengeance upon this unobliging caitiff, for his most disloyal obstruction ...
— Cecilia Volume 1 • Frances Burney

... that the desired astonishment was registered by an almost impalpable start, stopped the machine and changed ...
— Witch-Doctors • Charles Beadle

... LaGrange, this fact, of itself, excited little comment; it being evident that she was as familiar with the fashionable world as was their host himself, but surrounding her was the same dim haze of mystery that seemed to envelop the entire place, impalpable, but thus ...
— That Mainwaring Affair • Maynard Barbour

... hands. The mist was all around and about him, creeping, impalpable, phantom-like. The dory rocked gently on the swell. From afar came the low ...
— Lucy Maud Montgomery Short Stories, 1896 to 1901 • Lucy Maud Montgomery

... command the general assent of experts that it is a food at all, and because it is claimed to diminish some of the excretions, call that a delay of metamorphosis of tissue conservative of health! The ostrich may bury his head in the sand, but science will not close its eyes before such impalpable dust." ...
— Grappling with the Monster • T. S. Arthur

... religions of conquered provinces with their own. Thus about 1350 the Inca Pachacutec subdued the country about Lima where the worship of Con and Pachacama prevailed.[176-2] The local myth represented these as father and son, or brothers, children of the sun. They were without flesh or blood, impalpable, invisible, and incredibly swift of foot. Con first possessed the land, but Pachacama attacked and drove him to the north. Irritated at his defeat he took with him the rain, and consequently to this ...
— The Myths of the New World - A Treatise on the Symbolism and Mythology of the Red Race of America • Daniel G. Brinton

... be overcome by them. I would not yield, but to the last gasp resolutely defended my dear ones against sorrow and pain; and if I were vanquished at last, it should not be ingloriously. I stood in the gap, resisting the enemy—the impalpable, invisible foe, who had so long besieged us—as yet he had made no breach: it must be my care that he should not, secretly undermining, burst up within the very threshold of the temple of love, at whose altar I daily sacrificed. The hunger ...
— The Last Man • Mary Shelley

... nutritive power of water, the air which is the breath of life, the destructive force of fire, the seeming regularity of the greater part of nature and the irregularity of a remnant, the recurrence of day and night and of the seasons, the solid earth and the impalpable aether, were ...
— Timaeus • Plato

... touched by the sight of the majestic hierarchy of Rome, whose spiritual powers still prevailed, even amidst the ruin of its temporal authority, and were slowly but surely winning back the ground lost in the Revolution. An influence so impalpable yet irresistible, that inherited from the Rome of the Caesars the gift of organization and the power of maintaining discipline, in which the Revolution was so signally lacking, might well be the ally of the man who now dominated the Latin peoples. The pupil of Caesar could certainly ...
— The Life of Napoleon I (Volumes, 1 and 2) • John Holland Rose

... of scarlatina, measles and chickenpox. Of some diseases, the virus is a bacillus or coccus, excessively minute fungi recognizable only under the microscope; but the bacteriologists are now beginning to speak of viruses so impalpable that they, unlike ordinary bacteria, can go through the pores of a clay filter, are filter-passers, that is are of ultra-microscopic dimensions. Some authorities conjecture that the virus of variola belongs to the group of filter-passers. The virus of smallpox, ...
— Popular Science Monthly Volume 86

... himself altogether because of a story of devotion, this man declares he will do nothing until Sir F.E. Smith goes to the front. And the would-be prophet of what is going to happen must guess the relative force of these most impalpable and ...
— What is Coming? • H. G. Wells

... and to sustain the toga, he wears a sash, generally made by the squaws out of the slender filaments of the silk-tree, a species of the cotton-wood, which is always covered with long threads, impalpable, though very strong. These are woven together, and richly dyed. I am sure that in Paris or in London, these scarfs, which are from twelve to fifteen feet long, would fetch a large sum among the ladies of the haut ton. I have often had ...
— Travels and Adventures of Monsieur Violet • Captain Marryat

... by the Serpentine was under a small and almost impalpable cloud of almond petals. The babbling of ducks somewhere in the place where the water seemed a pale and wavering fire was like the sound of the upwelling of the hidden spring of life. This was the spot where I could sit and there quietly match the darker shades of trouble ...
— Waiting for Daylight • Henry Major Tomlinson

... more than that. Remember the explosion in our laboratory, that blew an entire mountain into impalpable dust? Draw in your mind a nice, vivid picture of one ten times the size in each of our plants and in this building. I know that you are fool enough to go ahead with your own ideas, in spite of everything I've said; and, since I do not yet actually control Steel, I can't forbid you to, ...
— Skylark Three • Edward Elmer Smith

... for a minute or two. The clouds, passing between earth and sun, made against the mountain slopes impalpable, dark, fantastic shapes. An eagle wheeled above its nest at the mountain-top. Ian spoke again. His ...
— Foes • Mary Johnston

... Williston range, rising with immortal and changeful beauty into the purple heavens. As she watched them with incurious eyes, marking them in the first light of the day, when their iridescence made them seem as impalpable as a dream of heaven; eyeing them in the noon-height, when their sides were the hue of ruddy granite; watching them at sunset when they faded from swimming gold to rose, from rose to purple, they seemed less like mountains than like those fair and fatal bergs of the Northern Atlantic. She had ...
— The Precipice • Elia Wilkinson Peattie

... graceful and elegant, as witty and seductive, as she could possibly manage to be; for here were all the ladies to outshine, and all the gentlemen to charm,—and Mr. Lawrence, especially, to capture and subdue. Her little arts to effect his subjugation were too subtle and impalpable to attract my observation; but I thought there was a certain refined affectation of superiority, and an ungenial self-consciousness about her, that negatived all her advantages; and after she was gone, Rose interpreted to me her various ...
— The Tenant of Wildfell Hall • Anne Bronte

... ought to have accepted this offer? Here was the very means placed within his reach of satisfying the craving desire of his heart; and yet, all the same, he seemed to shrink back with a vague and undefined dread. A thousand impalpable fears and doubts beset his mind. He had grown timid as a woman. The old happy audacity had been destroyed by sleepless nights and a torturing anxiety. It was a new thing for Keith Macleod to have become a prey to strange ...
— Macleod of Dare • William Black

... this unpalatable conclusion, is to maintain that the results could not be fully tested in an examination as suggested. Some of these are so fine, impalpable, and spiritual in their texture, that they cannot be seized by any questions that can be put; and would be dropped out if the present system were changed. But results so untraceable cannot be proved to exist ...
— Practical Essays • Alexander Bain

... made his way stealthily down towards the rendezvous glanced behind him once or twice as if he were not at all certain that some impalpable pursuer were not following him, and he almost jumped out of his shoes when the Major, who had for ten minutes been pacing up and down the grass-plat in a fume of impatience, caught sight of him and suddenly shouted, "Why don't you ...
— "George Washington's" Last Duel - 1891 • Thomas Nelson Page

... aspect was not even looked at. Buffon's acute but for the most part empiric speculations on the structure of the globe were a step in advance; but the science of geology he did not recognize, and left to be shaped a very little later by Hutton. Priestley, Cavendish and Lavoisier were dissecting the impalpable air and making the gaseous form of substances as familiar and manageable as the solid. Hence true analytic chemistry. Astronomy, an older science, had derived new precision from the first observed transit of Venus, imperfect as were the data obtained and ...
— Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science, Vol. 17, - No. 97, January, 1876 • Various

... informed me that the end of the world approaches, and will occur without fail on the 20th of this present month of May. They expect, that day, a comet, which is to take our little globe from behind and reduce it to impalpable powder, according to a certain prediction of the Academy of Sciences which has not yet ...
— Myths and Marvels of Astronomy • Richard A. Proctor

... as I crouched beside a gun on the 'tween-decks I espied of a sudden a shape, dim and impalpable-seeming in the gloom, that flitted silently past me and up the ladder to the deck above. Up started I, knife in hand, but in my haste I stumbled over some obstacle and fell; but up the ladder I sprang in pursuit, out into moonlight, ...
— Black Bartlemy's Treasure • Jeffrey Farnol

... sickness of the soul; her mind Had wandered from its dwelling, and her eyes They had not their own lustre, but the look Which is not of the earth; she was become The queen of a fantastic realm; her thoughts Were combinations of disjointed things; And forms impalpable and unperceived Of others' sight familiar were to hers. And ...
— My Recollections of Lord Byron • Teresa Guiccioli

... gentleman might be permitted to travel without being subject to attacks on his country: Mr. Holt observed that he thought precisely the same, which species of agreement closed the conversation. And the States'-man relieved his feelings subsequently by whittling a stick from the firewood into impalpable chips, with his heels resting on the apex of the saloon stove. Kind-hearted Hiram Holt had meanwhile more than half ...
— Cedar Creek - From the Shanty to the Settlement • Elizabeth Hely Walshe

... bright and defined in detail. The Great Romantics go to work in other ways. Their poetry is a thing of half lights and half spoken suggestions, of hints that imagination will piece together, of words that are charged with an added meaning of sound over sense, a thing that stirs the vague and impalpable restlessness of memory or terror or desire that lies down beneath in the minds of men. It rouses what a philosopher has called the "Transcendental feeling," the solemn sense of the immediate presence of "that which was and is and ...
— English Literature: Modern - Home University Library Of Modern Knowledge • G. H. Mair

... touches. It is like a bee going from flower to flower, a teasing, plundering, wayward zephyr, an Aeolian harp, a ray of furtive light stealing through the leaves. Taken as a whole, there is something impalpable and immaterial about him, which I will not venture to call effeminate, but which is scarcely manly. He wants bone and body: timid, dreamy, and clairvoyant, he hovers far above reality. He is rather ...
— Amiel's Journal • Mrs. Humphry Ward

... 'single-moulded' line of the early plays; second, the perfect freedom and mastery of the great tragedies; and, third, the daring liberties, verging on license, of the later plays. These distinctions have, of course, no more absolute value than all similar classifications of impalpable modifications, but they at least suggest the underlying truth that Shakespeare began as a beginner, and then, having mastered the difficulties and subtleties of the form, treated it with the easy familiarity ...
— The Principles of English Versification • Paull Franklin Baum

... the day rose up before him, but he seemed to loathe them merely because they had been of so active a character, and now he could not bear to have his brain teased even with their impalpable shadow. ...
— The Claim Jumpers • Stewart Edward White

... genius; they show that genius at the moment when all its qualities were in harmony and perfectly balanced between the spiritual vision which it formed of life, and the art form to which it commits that precious and impalpable possession. One of the distinctive qualities of these plays is their objectivity; their detachment from the moods and experiences of the dramatist. This detachment is so complete that at first glance every trace of the dramatist seems to have been erased. But there ...
— Essays On Work And Culture • Hamilton Wright Mabie

... Sir Lucien, she had ceased to understand him. An impalpable barrier seemed to have arisen between them. The inner man had became inaccessible. Her mind was not subtle enough to grasp the real explanation of this change in her old lover. Being based upon wrong premises, her inferences were necessarily wide of the truth, and ...
— Dope • Sax Rohmer

... and wanted rest; that it had been on a long, fruitless journey, and was so weary that it would not take up the burden of life again just yet. But its rest could not be long; there was someone it must find, and before he had gone again to that boundless land, whose haunting spirits were impalpable as flecks of mist. And then it moaned and wept, and seemed to live over its past, and I went back with it, or I was one with it—I cannot define. It recalled many scenes, but only one made an impression on my memory; I can recall no other." She paused abruptly, ...
— What Dreams May Come • Gertrude Franklin Horn Atherton

... by means of the air, which is an invisible and impalpable body, Sound spreads around the spot where it has been produced, by a movement which is passed on successively from one part of the air to another; and that the spreading of this movement, taking place equally rapidly on all sides, ought to form spherical surfaces ever enlarging and which ...
— Treatise on Light • Christiaan Huygens

... sight of what a people might become who, knowing thus far, do what they know. We believe no more than you, but we believe it. Come and see!—and yet you will not see; facts, and the reasons of them, will be as impalpable to you there as here, unless you can again ...
— Yeast: A Problem • Charles Kingsley

... delight in the silent immensity flowing, Journeying surgelessly on through impalpable ethers of peace. How can I think of myself when infinitude o'er me is glowing, Glowing with tokens of love from the land ...
— An Anthology of Australian Verse • Bertram Stevens

... dimmed; in front of me they melted, diaphanously, like a gelatinous wall in a blast of flame; through their vanishing, under the torrent of driving light, the unthinkable, impalpable tornado, I began to ...
— The Moon Pool • A. Merritt

... rises in the centre of the piazza, with a fourfold fountain at its base. All Roman works and ruins (whether of the empire, the far-off republic, or the still more distant kings) assume a transient, visionary, and impalpable character when we think that this indestructible monument supplied one of the recollections which Moses and the Israelites bore from Egypt into the desert. Perchance, on beholding the cloudy pillar and the fiery column, they whispered awestricken to one another, "In its shape it is like that ...
— The Marble Faun, Volume I. - The Romance of Monte Beni • Nathaniel Hawthorne

... general propositions are expressed and, moreover (with rare exceptions), all predicates are general. For, besides these typical class-names, attributive words are general terms, such as 'royal,' 'ruling,' 'woolly,' 'bleating,' 'impalpable,' 'vanishing.' ...
— Logic - Deductive and Inductive • Carveth Read

... irritation as the abundant use of powder, either simple starch powder, or ten parts of starch powder to one of oxide of zinc, or carbonate of bismuth. All powders must be absolutely free from grit, or, in other words, quite impalpable; otherwise they irritate the surface. On the face and other parts where it can be employed, the puff may be used to apply the powder; but between the creases of the skin—which it is important to keep apart—fine linen, lint, or charpie must be employed, covered freely ...
— The Mother's Manual of Children's Diseases • Charles West, M.D.

... knowing the mysterious secrets of the grave. Here the victor and vanquished, side by side, Sleep in dreamless rest, Kings and Queens in life, Battling for power, all conquered by tyrant Death, Whose universal edict, irrevocable, Levels Prince and Peasant, in impalpable dust. Crowns to-day, coffins to-morrow, with monuments Mossed over, letter-cracked, undecipherable As the mummied remains of Egyptian Kings. Vain, vain, are all the monuments of man, The greatest only live a little span; We strut and shine ...
— Shakspere, Personal Recollections • John A. Joyce

... water-spouts wandering over the plain, coming in contact and mingling with each other, and falling and rising in wild confusion; but, on the other hand, nothing could be more disagreeable than the dust which was thrown off by these innumerable MEDANOS, which was so impalpable that close one's eyes as they might, it found ...
— In Search of the Castaways • Jules Verne

... immobile, immure, immutable, impalpable, impeccable, impecunious, imperturbable, impervious, implacable, implicit, impolitic, imponderable, importunate, imprecation, impromptu, improvise, imputation, inadvertent, inamorata, inanity, incarcerate, inchoate, incidence, incision, incongruent, inconsequential, ...
— The Century Vocabulary Builder • Creever & Bachelor

... say contemporary writers, was of two kinds, powder and liquid. The poison in the form of powder was a sort of white flour, almost impalpable, with the taste of sugar, and called ...
— The Borgias - Celebrated Crimes • Alexandre Dumas, Pere

... earth. It seemed an endless uphill drag to my lodging, and though my bedroom was unexpectedly dainty, and a dear old woman—St. John's mother—metaphorically tucked me in, I slept ill that night. Formless dreams tortured me with impalpable tragedies and apprehensions of horror. In the morning—after a cold sponging—the oppression lifted a little from my spirit, though the weather still seemed rather gray. St. John had already gone off to his field-work, his mother told me. She was so lovely, and the room in which I ate breakfast ...
— Dreamers of the Ghetto • I. Zangwill

... himself! He was a child of the Romantic Revival, a creature of emotion and of memory, a dreamer whose secret spirit dwelt apart in delectable mountains, an artist whose subtle senses caught, like a shower in the sunshine, the impalpable rainbow of the immaterial world. In other times, under other skies, his days would have been more fortunate. He might have helped to weave the garland of Meleager, or to mix the lapis lazuli of Fra Angelico, ...
— Eminent Victorians • Lytton Strachey

... parvis of Notre Dame, glistening wet, and passed over the gray Seine, slate under the gray mist of the rain. Under her feet the impalpable dust of a city turned to gray slime which clung to her shoes. She walked on through a narrow, mean street of mediaeval aspect where rag-pickers, drearily oblivious of the rain, quarreled weakly over their filthy ...
— The Bent Twig • Dorothy Canfield

... freer charm than scientific apprehension. Science could indicate its bulk, its motions, its distance, even analyse its very bones; but it could do no more; while the spirit could glide, as in an aerial chariot, through the darkness of the impalpable abyss, draw nearer and nearer in thought to the vast luminary, see unscathed its prodigious vents spouting flame and smoke, and hear the roar of its furnaces; or softly alight upon fields of dark stones, ...
— Beside Still Waters • Arthur Christopher Benson

... little, save a sense of lightness and cold discomfort. Now however the atrocious darkness seemed to creep into my soul, and I became filled with fear and despair. What was going to become of me? Where was I going? Even as the thoughts were formed, there grew against the impalpable blackness that wrapped me a faint tinge of blood. It seemed extraordinarily remote, and mistlike; yet, at once, the feeling of oppression was lightened, ...
— The House on the Borderland • William Hope Hodgson

... Edward, and stopped at the gate of Albion Villa. At this sight mother and daughter both turned their heads quickly away by one independent impulse, and set a bad example. Apparently neither of them had calculated on this paltry little detail; they were game for theoretical departures; to impalpable universities: and "an air-drawn Bus, a Bus of the mind," would not have dejected for a moment their lofty Spartan souls on glory bent; safe glory. But here was a Bus of wood, and Edward going bodily away inside it. The victim kissed them, threw up his portmanteau and ...
— Hard Cash • Charles Reade

... supposed that white sand would have answered his purpose equally well, and have been cheaper; but, being determined to give the body of his ware as great a degree of compactness as possible, it was necessary that the materials should be reduced to the state almost of an impalpable powder; and calcined flints are much more easily brought to this state by grinding than sand would be. The perfect and equable mixture of these two ingredients being a point of great importance, he did not choose to trust to ...
— The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction - Vol. 19, Issue 550, June 2, 1832 • Various

... longing, to fall at a touch. It was one of those nights when the solid things of the world, the houses and the hills and the woods and the very earth itself, grow unreal to the point of vanishing; while the impalpable things, the presences of life and death which travel on the unseen air, the influences of the far-off starry lights, the silent messages and presentiments of darkness, the ebb and flow of vast currents of secret existence all around us, seem so close and ...
— The Unknown Quantity - A Book of Romance and Some Half-Told Tales • Henry van Dyke

... every library and every room in any building is subject to its persistent visitations. Wherever carpets or rugs cover the floors, there dust has an assured abiding-place, and it is diffused throughout the apartment in impalpable clouds, at every sweeping of the floors. Hence it would be wise to adopt in public libraries a floor-covering like linoleum, or some substance other than woolen, which would be measurably free from ...
— A Book for All Readers • Ainsworth Rand Spofford

... throbbing pulse and warm pressure of Perugino and Bellini,—this difference is typical of the difference between the art of the fourteenth century and the art of the fifteenth century; the first suggests, the second realizes; the one gives impalpable outlines, the other gives tangible bodies; the Giottesque cares for the figure only, inasmuch as it displays an action, he reduces it to a semblance, a phantom, to the mere exponent of an idea; the ...
— The Contemporary Review, Volume 36, September 1879 • Various

... The transparent vapor at the mouth of the kettle is the true vapor of water, which is condensed into liquid drops by cooling; but after being diffused through the air these drops evaporate and again become true vapor. Clouds, then, are not formed of true vapor, but consist of impalpable particles of liquid water floating or suspended ...
— Side-lights on Astronomy and Kindred Fields of Popular Science • Simon Newcomb

... on the borders of day. I flew, upheld by my Guide, borne along by a power akin to that which, during our dreams, wafts us to spheres invisible to the eye of the body. The halo that crowned our heads seared away the shades as we passed, like impalpable dust. Far above us the suns of all the worlds shone with scarce so much light as the twinkling fireflies of my native land. I was soaring towards the fields of air where, round about Paradise, the bodies of light are in closer array, where ...
— The Exiles • Honore de Balzac

... comes, we find the actual dimensions, the physical outline, more insisted upon. That is the biographer's business; and it is not altogether his fault, though partly so, that the public regard is thus turned away from the peculiar but impalpable sign that floats above the poet's actual stature. But, under this subtile influence, forgetting that old, luminous hallucination (if it be one), we suddenly feel the want of it, are dissatisfied; and, ...
— A Study Of Hawthorne • George Parsons Lathrop

... is no denying that I did somehow acquire a vague impression that Courtney is not so large a figure in his wife's eyes as he might be. I may have been biased by my previous conception of his character, or I may have misinterpreted the impalpable, indescribable signs that I remarked in her. But, once more, how do I know that her not caring for him would postulate her caring for me? Why should she care for either of us? Our old romance is to her as the memory of something ...
— David Poindexter's Disappearance and Other Tales • Julian Hawthorne

... between these mountains is the waste known as the Mojave desert. It stretches north and south from San Pasqual, fading away into nothing, into impalpable, unlovely, soul-crushing suggestions of space illimitable; dancing and shimmering in the heat waves, it seems struggling to escape. When the wind blows, the dust-devils play tag among the low sage and greasewood; the Joshua trees, rising in the midst ...
— The Long Chance • Peter B. Kyne

... nevertheless a danger. Conjectures were made about the strange vessel; it became a subject of conversation, a sort of company for them; all longing to see her, strained their eyes in vain efforts to pierce those impalpable white shrouds. ...
— An Iceland Fisherman • Pierre Loti

... of men and women, which are not accorded but at odds with nature and supernature. The spirits of discord are indeed always with us; and whether you see them as witches, disguised in the living human form, or as monstrous and terrifying dream-figures, or as floating impalpable atmospheres, they are vigilantly to be guarded ...
— The Haunters & The Haunted - Ghost Stories And Tales Of The Supernatural • Various

... love. I was also not a little disturbed when, supplemental to my reminiscences, Mary went back to the past and humorously drew pictures of me as her own early lover. There is considerable difference between the impalpable, airy spirit of the fancy and a wrinkled and austere ...
— The Romance of an Old Fool • Roswell Field

... and living death, when the thought of his own intolerable condition pressed on him with a heavier than usual weight. It was a very cloudy night, and he had long exceeded the usual college hours. The wind tossed about his clothes, and dashed in his face a keen impalpable sleet, while nothing dispelled the darkness except the occasional gleam of a lamp struggling fitfully with the driving mist. Hazlet reached Saint Werner's wet and miserable; in returning he had lost his way, and wandered into the most disreputable and poverty-stricken streets, the very ...
— Julian Home • Dean Frederic W. Farrar

... us; and the fine sand with which they were loaded, had completely obscured the clearness of the atmosphere. The sun presented a reddish disk; the whole surface of the ocean became nebulous, and the air which we breathed, depositing a fine sand, an impalpable powder, penetrated to our lungs, already parched with a burning thirst. In this state of torment we remained till four in the afternoon, when a breeze from the north-west brought us some relief. Notwithstanding the privations we felt, and especially the burning thirst which had become intolerable, ...
— Perils and Captivity • Charlotte-Adelaide [nee Picard] Dard

... help; I argued reasonably: and every time I looked up at that absorbed smooth face, so grave and youthful, I had a disturbing sense of being no help but rather an obstacle to some mysterious, inexplicable, impalpable ...
— Lord Jim • Joseph Conrad

... cat from the coping of the nearest pier, whence she sped on, keeping just ahead of him. The spectral sickle of a waning moon hung on the edge of the sky, and up and down the banks of the stream floated phantoms of silvery mist, here covering the water with impalpable wreaths, and there drifting away to enable Andromeda to print her starry image on ...
— At the Mercy of Tiberius • August Evans Wilson

... the darkness all about us. For perhaps a few seconds I stood thus, and a suspicion swept across me, that the whole business was practically a repetition of the affair of the morning. Evidently, the impalpable something that invested the ship, had thinned for an instant, thus allowing me to see the light ahead. Now, it had closed again. Yet, whether I could see, or not, I did not doubt the fact that, there was a vessel ahead, ...
— The Ghost Pirates • William Hope Hodgson

... fervent June sun and riotous night winds of those altitudes. The ephemeral grasses that had quickly supplanted these pools and the chocolate-colored mud, were as quickly parched and withered. The footprints of spring became vague and indefinite, and were finally lost in the impalpable dust of the ...
— Frontier Stories • Bret Harte

... nothing very cogent to say, but the dentist felt an impalpable obstruction of will, unintelligible and persistent. His enthusiasm grew as he perfected the details of his plan. It was a new kind of scheme, in which he took the artistic delight of the incorrigible promoter. His imagination once enlisted for ...
— The Web of Life • Robert Herrick

... the sun shines upon sings or can be made to sing, and can be heard to sing. Gases, impalpable powders, and woolen stuffs, in common with other non-conductors of sound, give forth notes of different pitches when played upon by an intermittent beam of white light. Colored stuffs will sing in lights of different colors, but refuse to sing in others. The polarization ...
— The Human Chord • Algernon Blackwood

... And then I laid book and paper down, and put my eyes against the rays. All was blackness, and I neither saw nor felt anything. The discharge was in full force, and the rays were flying through my head, and, for all I knew, through the side of the box behind me. But they were invisible and impalpable. They gave no sensation whatever. Whatever the mysterious rays may be, they are not to be seen, and are to be judged only ...
— Little Masterpieces of Science: - Invention and Discovery • Various

... likewise individual ugliness. If no one was strikingly handsome, no one was strikingly plain. And though you could not mark the delicacies of faces, you could have the full effect of costumes,—rich, majestic, floating, gossamery, impalpable. Everything was fresh, spotless, and in tune. It scarcely needed music to resolve all the incessant waver and shimmer into a dance; but the music came, and, like sand-grains under the magnet, the beautiful atoms swept into stately shapes ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 12, August, 1863, No. 70 - A Magazine of Literature, Art, and Politics • Various

... truth for those who can comprehend it, and an extravagance for those who cannot. The most careless or matter-of-fact reader must see that the work, like the enigmatical "Faust," deals in types and symbols; that the writer intends to suggest to the mind something more subtle and impalpable than that which is embodied to the senses. What that something is, hardly two persons will agree. The most obvious interpretation of the types is, that in Zanoni the author depicts to us humanity, perfected, sublimed, which lives not for self, but for others; in Mejnour, as we have ...
— Zanoni • Edward Bulwer Lytton

... of a musical comedy, because that profession offered more alluring wares in the way of perils than any other that was open to her. And then she discovered that her calculations had gone awry. The impalpable shield her formidable friend carried with her, turned the perils aside. The little group of half-grown boys one sometimes found waiting at the stage door, never even spoke to Rose, and Dolly, in her company, partook of this unwelcomed immunity. As for the men in the company, ...
— The Real Adventure • Henry Kitchell Webster

... of "Supernatural Religion" endeavours to trace the doctrine of the Logos, as contained in Justin, to older sources than our present Fourth Gospel, particularly to Philo and the Gospel according to the Hebrews. The latter is much too impalpable to enable us to verify his statements by it; but we shall have to show his misconceptions respecting the connection of Justin's doctrine with the former. What we have now to ...
— The Lost Gospel and Its Contents - Or, The Author of "Supernatural Religion" Refuted by Himself • Michael F. Sadler

... since he can call into palpable shape dreams born of impalpable thought; as a god, since he has known the truth divested of lies, and has stood face to face with it, and been not afraid; a god thus. But a cripple inasmuch as his hand can never fashion the shapes that his vision beholds; an alien ...
— Wisdom, Wit, and Pathos of Ouida - Selected from the Works of Ouida • Ouida

... sculpture, saying, that painting is the more beautiful, the more imaginative and the more copious, and that sculpture is more durable, but has no other advantage. Sculpture with little labour shows what in painting seems to be a miraculous thing to do: to make impalpable objects appear palpable, to give the semblance of relief to flat objects, and distance to objects that are near. In fact painting is full of infinite resources of ...
— Thoughts on Art and Life • Leonardo da Vinci

... hour she sat there dreaming, staring at the tinted ghost of Eros, rose-hued, near-smiling, unreal, impalpable as the dusty sunbeam that slanted from her window, gilding the ...
— The Flaming Jewel • Robert Chambers

... mystical in the effect of the grey, dreamy atmosphere of an arctic night, through whose uncertain medium mountain and headland loom as impalpable as the frontiers of a demon world, and as I kept gazing at the glimmering peaks, and monstrous crags, and shattered stratifications, heaped up along the coast in cyclopean disorder, I understood how natural it was that the Scandinavian mythology, of whose mysteries ...
— Letters From High Latitudes • The Marquess of Dufferin (Lord Dufferin)

... with sulphate of soda, and muriate of lime. The rest are fragments of the underlying sand-stone, and are covered by a few inches thick of detritus. The shells higher up on this terrace could be traced scaling off in flakes, and falling into an impalpable powder; and on an upper terrace, at the height of 170 feet, and likewise at some considerably higher points, I found a layer of saline powder, of exactly similar appearance, and lying in the same relative position. I have no doubt that ...
— Travels in Peru, on the Coast, in the Sierra, Across the Cordilleras and the Andes, into the Primeval Forests • J. J. von Tschudi

... prayer. Hitherto he had said his Offices regularly, but now he would say special prayers as well. To get the victory over his lawless and rebellious nature he would turn his eyes to the mother of the Lord. But when he tried to fix his mind on Mary there was nothing to answer to it. All was shadowy and impalpable. There was only a vague, empty cloud before his eyes, until suddenly a luminous face glided into the vacant place, and it was full of tenderness, of sweetness, of charm, of pity and womanly love—but it was the face ...
— The Christian - A Story • Hall Caine

... suddenly laid hold upon me, and like the Prince in Tennyson's poem, "I seemed to move amid a world of ghosts." There had been a garden-party at the Commander-in-Chief's, and we two joined the crowd of homeward-bound folk. As I saw them then it seemed that they were the shadows—impalpable, fantastic shadows—that divided for Mrs. Wessington's 'rickshaw to pass through. What we said during the course of that weird interview I cannot—indeed, I dare not—tell. Heatherlegh's comment would have been a short laugh ...
— The Works of Rudyard Kipling One Volume Edition • Rudyard Kipling

... whiteness. The sun, reflected upward, pierced their bodies, and parched them with thirst. They breathed a hot atmosphere filled with gypsum dust, that by the trampling of the buffalo herd had been reduced to an impalpable powder, and floated about suspended in the air. This added to the agony of their thirst; and it was difficult for them to tell whether they suffered most from the want of food, or the ...
— The Boy Hunters • Captain Mayne Reid

... hath not, as the general report testifieth, the same nature and existence as our own. He useth magic—I have credible testimony thereto, my lord;—and anointeth his body so that it shall be invisible. The free unconfined air is not more accessible to the scared bird than rocks and walls are to this impalpable mockery of our form; and yet he ...
— Traditions of Lancashire, Volume 1 (of 2) • John Roby

... sweat drenched him at the thought of heaping back those tons of earth and stone above her, crushing with a frightful weight of inert matter the bodily beauty that he adored. He felt as though her soul hovered about him, wailing to him not to be so cruel, tugging at his garments with imploring, impalpable hands. ...
— The Dop Doctor • Clotilde Inez Mary Graves

... mind, which sometimes seduces Mr. Wedgwood into making distinctions without a difference and preferring an impalpable relation of idea to a plain derivative affinity, is of great advantage to him when the problem is to construct an etymology by following the gossamer clews that lead from sensual images to the metaphorical and tropical adaptations of them to the demands of fancy and thought. The nice optics ...
— Atlantic Monthly Volume 6, No. 34, August, 1860 • Various

... Boyle speaks of a fine powder as "alcohol;" and, so late as the middle of the last century, the English lexicographer, Nathan Bailey, defines "alcohol" as "the pure substance of anything separated from the more gross, a very fine and impalpable powder, or a very pure, well-rectified spirit." But, by the time of the publication of Lavoisier's "Traite Elementaire de Chimie," in 1789, the term "alcohol," "alkohol," or "alkool" (for it is spelt in all three ...
— Critiques and Addresses • Thomas Henry Huxley

... So impalpable was the attraction that brought the world to the feet of Madame Recamier that it is interesting to analyze it. It did not lie in her beauty and wealth alone; for she lost the one, while time blighted ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Volume 14, No. 84, October, 1864 - A Magazine Of Literature, Art, And Politics • Various

... trovato, of that keenest of lawyers, listening to a lecture of which every sentence was a gem and every paragraph rich with the spoils of literature, and replying to the question, "Do you understand all that?" "No, but my daughters do." It was as beautiful and iridescent as the Staubbach, and as impalpable. ...
— The History of Dartmouth College • Baxter Perry Smith

... earliest and kindest of my other friends, eager and glad always to assist, instruct, encourage me; John Butler had given me my first gun, and had petted me in his rough way from boyhood. Yet now, at a touch of that hateful, impalpable thing "class," these all vanished away from my support, and were to me as if they had never been. I saw them over on the other side, across the abyss from me, grouped smiling about this new-comer, praising his brute ability ...
— In the Valley • Harold Frederic

... I see the fair one of my dreams in the shop-windows. Once having seen her, I become immeasurably happy, and go on dreaming about her until we meet again. It may seem a curious admission, but this beautiful although impalpable being is suggested by the charming dresses, hats and bonnets displayed on the milliners' blocks. None of our artists can paint portraits now-a-days: Art seems to have withdrawn her gifts from them and endowed ...
— Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science, Vol. XXVI., December, 1880. • Various

... underlined, as it were, to show up current follies and extravagances of phrase and of fashion generally, is yet pretty certainly in the main the real average conversation of the society of his time, which he knew well and thoroughly. Further, there is a distinct, though it may be almost impalpable, difference between it and the conversation of the stage, though it is naturally connected therewith. Non-poetical stage dialogue in capable hands is either deliberate talking for display of "wit" like that of Congreve, or is conditioned and directed by the necessities of action ...
— The English Novel • George Saintsbury

... man, turns away from the door, and catches sight of a white-robed, hairy-headed reflection in the looking-glass, the phantom face of which at once expands in a genial expression of mirth; an impalpable arm is outstretched, and the ...
— Idolatry - A Romance • Julian Hawthorne

... white and yellow and with slim curtains which we could crush back upon the rods; but even there one could not see to read by daylight. This continuous, arctic gloom added, no doubt, to the melancholy spell of the house, which nevertheless charmed me, and held me almost with a sense of impalpable presences sharing with Joshua and me our intimate, wistful seclusion. If I was happy, in a luxuriously mournful sort of way, I knew that he was not—that he grieved persistently over something that ...
— The Spinner's Book of Fiction • Various

... stile, and looked with eyes that seemed blurred with impalpable flaws at a world in which even the spring buds were wilted, the sunlight metallic and the shadows mixed with ...
— The History of Mr. Polly • H. G. Wells

... yearning strays With sundered gaze, 'Mid corporal presences that are To it impalpable—such a bar Sets you more distant than the morning-star. Such wonder is on you, and amaze, I look and marvel if I be Indeed the phantom, or are ye? The light is on your innocence Which fell from me. The fields ...
— The Home Book of Verse, Vol. 3 (of 4) • Various

... history describes as either a light and almost impalpable powder, tasteless, colorless, and inodorous, or a liquid clear as a dewdrop, when in the form of the aqua tofana. It was capable of causing death either instantaneously or by slow and lingering decline ...
— The Golden Dog - Le Chien d'Or • William Kirby

... had he lived, would undoubtedly have made good, was lost by his decease. Some connecting link had slipped out of the evidence, and could not be found. Still, from generation to generation, the Pyncheons cherished an absurd delusion of family importance on the strength of this impalpable claim; and from father to son they clung with tenacity to the ancestral house for the better part of ...
— The World's Greatest Books, Volume V. • Arthur Mee and J.A. Hammerton, Eds.

... appearance that was a uniform pale yellow color, and your buggy would have three inches of dust in it, thrown there by the wheels. The delicate scales used by the assayers were inclosed in glass cases intended to be air-tight, and yet some of this dust was so impalpable and so invisibly fine that it would get in, somehow, and impair the ...
— Innocents abroad • Mark Twain

... the mountains of the Caucasus appear in front of us, rising up to the clouds like a light-blue wall. The whole range seems so light and impalpable that we can scarcely believe that the very next day we shall be driving up its valleys and over heights which are more than 16,000 feet above the sea-level. The distance is still great, but the white summit of Mount Kazbek ...
— From Pole to Pole - A Book for Young People • Sven Anders Hedin

... soulful melody of the nightingale, pathetic with unappeasable sorrow. In the Forest of Arden, too, there were unspoiled men and women, as indifferent to the fashion of the world and the folly of the hour as the stars to the impalpable mist of the clouds; men and women who spoke the truth, and saw the fact, and lived the right; to whom love and faith and high hopes were more real than the crowns of which they had been despoiled and the kingdoms from which they had been rejected. All this I had ...
— Under the Trees and Elsewhere • Hamilton Wright Mabie

... some of the fragments. Surely, never was substance so closely allied to shadow. The lightest touch, a breath even, and they were gone,—and were they caught, it was like the capture of one of the floating films of a summer morning, glancing brightly to the eye, but impalpable ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 14, No. 83, September, 1864 • Various

... the same, yet not the same as at night. A cooler, tenderer, more subdued cloak of color u on them. Far down the valley a cool, deep, impalpable, blue mist lay, under which one divined the river Ian, under its elms and basswoods and wild grapevines. On the shaven slopes of the hills cattle and sheep were feeding, their cries and bells coming to the ear ...
— Main-Travelled Roads • Hamlin Garland

... moment, or the wonder of it. She seemed to herself to be wandering in a strange country, far, far away from the solid tangible earth—a land of darkness and dreams, of strange, numbing unreality. Her eyes were open, yet saw nothing: impalpable chains fettered her limbs, so that they grew stiff and refused to move; an icy coldness crept around her heart. Hearing, like the other senses, was dulled, yet through the throbbing silence a sound had penetrated, bringing with it a thrill of returning life. Some one had called ...
— Big Game - A Story for Girls • Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey

... are present. The artists and authors and the rest are all very well in their way, but the dexterous unseen touch of the lady is needed; and no man can reckon himself fit to converse at all unless he has been taught by women's care, and gently reproved by women's impalpable skill. Young men of our day are beginning to think it childish or tedious to mix much in women's society; the consequence is that, though many of them go a long way toward being gentlemen, too many are the merest cubs that ever exhibited pure ...
— The Ethics of Drink and Other Social Questions - Joints In Our Social Armour • James Runciman

... his voice Mrs. Slawson recovered her poise. That wouldn't-call-the-queen-your-cousin feeling came over her again, and she was ready to face the music, whatever tune it might play. So susceptible is the foolish spirit of mortal to those subtle, impalpable influences of atmosphere that we try to describe, in terms of inexact science, ...
— Martha By-the-Day • Julie M. Lippmann

... Rosamund were to be cut off from him even to-night he had gained enormously by the possession of her. He knew what woman can be, and without disappointment; for he did not choose to reckon up those small, almost impalpable things which, like passing shadows, had now and then brought a faint obscurity into his life with Rosamund, as disappointments. They came, perhaps, from himself. And what where they? He looked out over the ...
— In the Wilderness • Robert Hichens

... and obscurity. Now, unity, the combination of light and dark, is color.' The painter, then, proposes to himself to represent, not bodies with their real thickness, but simply their appearance, their image; but by this means it is the mind which he addresses. Visible but impalpable, and in some sense immaterial, his work does not meet the touch, which is the sight of the body: it only meets the eye, which is the touch of the soul. Painting is then, from this point of view, the essential art of Christianity.... If the painter, ...
— Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science, Vol. 11, - No. 22, January, 1873 • Various

... world around her the same world,—as if she were but one sense of intense, hopeless misery, and as if the universe were but one inanimate void. So strangely immaterial are we really—we human beings, with flesh and blood—that if you suddenly abstract from us but single, impalpable, airy thought, which our souls have cherished, you seem to curdle the air, to extinguish the sun, to snap every link that connects us to matter, and to benumb everything into death, ...
— My Novel, Complete • Edward Bulwer-Lytton

... Wrath of God, expresses for Ovid. It is perhaps the earliest instance outside the field of prose of the truce or coalition which was slowly forming itself between the new religion and the old culture. Beyond a certain faint and almost impalpable mysticism, which hints at the legend of the Phoenix as symbolical of the doctrine of the Resurrection, there is nothing in the poem which is distinctively Christian. Phoebus and the lyre of Cyllene are invoked, as they might be by a pagan poet. But the language is from beginning to end full of Christian ...
— Latin Literature • J. W. Mackail

... millions are as impalpable as my broomstick they won't hurt me much," he laughed. And then soberly: "Say, Una, you seem to know a lot more about me than I ...
— Paradise Garden - The Satirical Narrative of a Great Experiment • George Gibbs

... addition. He has shown by his example and writings that the contemplation of Nature may become a stimulus as inspiring as these; may enable us "to see into the life of things"—as far, perhaps, as beatific vision or prophetic rapture can attain. Assertions so impalpable as these must justify themselves by subjective evidence. He who claims to give a message must satisfy us that he has himself received it; and, inasmuch as transcendent things are in themselves inexpressible, he must convey to us in hints and figures the conviction which we need. Prayer may bring ...
— Wordsworth • F. W. H. Myers

... mastery in my brain, while I, like some interested spectator, watched the struggle; or, again, I was struggling in the air with some powerful but viewless monster form, that clutched my throat with iron fingers, but whose body was impalpable to the grasp of my hands. A mighty space, an eternity of time and daylight came. Then, like one in a dream, I rose mechanically, and, finding the pin I had secreted, I stood on the little wooden bench, and, impelled by some ...
— Bidwell's Travels, from Wall Street to London Prison - Fifteen Years in Solitude • Austin Biron Bidwell

... went on outwardly much as before at the Grimm home. The only change was the impalpable one which occurs in a room when a ...
— The Return of Peter Grimm - Novelised From the Play • David Belasco

... of faces always faded and darkened into a blur and he forgot them: forgot himself, forgot everything except the instrument that had become the mouthpiece of his soul. Then he, like his audience, was swept away into an impalpable world where nothing remained save the marvelous cascading and crushing tides which were the tides of golden sound. At such moments Paul Burton ...
— Destiny • Charles Neville Buck

... City to Washoe and the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the road lies through the most horrible desert conceivable by the mind of man. For the sand of the Sahara we find substituted an impalpable powder of alkali, white as the driven snow, stretching for ninety miles at a time in one uninterrupted dazzling sheet, which supports not even that last obstinate vidette of vegetation, the wild-sage brush. Its springs are far between, and, without a single exception, ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 13, No. 78, April, 1864 • Various



Words linked to "Impalpable" :   impalpability, unperceivable, imperceptible, abstract, subtle, tangible, elusive, palpable



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