word-forming element meaning "not, opposite of, without" (also im-, il-, ir- by assimilation of -n- with following consonant, a tendency which began in later Latin), from Latin in- "not," cognate with Greek an-, Old English un-, all from PIE root *ne- "not."
In Old French and Middle English often en-, but most of these forms have not survived in Modern English, and the few that do (enemy, for instance) no longer are felt as negative. The rule of thumb in English has been to use in- with obviously Latin elements, un- with native or nativized ones.
c. 1500, "tastefulness, correctness, harmoniousness, refinement," of speech or prose, from Latin elegantia "taste, propriety, refinement," from elegantem (see elegant). Earlier form was elegancy (early 15c.). Meaning "refined luxury" is from 1797. Via French come German Eleganz, Swedish elegans, etc.
<a href="https://www.etymonline.com/word/inelegance">Etymology of inelegance by etymonline</a>
Harper, D. (n.d.). Etymology of inelegance. Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved $(datetime), from https://www.etymonline.com/word/inelegance