Legible describes readable print or handwriting. If someone tells you that your writing looks like “chicken scratch,” it might not be legible, except to other chickens.

Legible goes back to the Latin word legibilis, meaning “that can be read.” If you can read someone’s handwriting, it is legible. The person might not have perfect penmanship, but if you decipher the letters, the writing is legible. People’s signatures are especially notorious for not being legible — that’s why we often must print or type our names below.

Definitions of legible
  1. adjective

    (of handwriting, print, etc.) capable of being read or deciphered

    legible handwriting”

    clean, fair

    (of a manuscript) having few alterations or corrections
    clear, decipherable, readable

    easily deciphered
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    (of handwriting, print, etc.) not legible
    dirty, foul, marked-up

    (of a manuscript) defaced with changes
    indecipherable, unclear, undecipherable, unreadable

    not easily deciphered
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