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incommensurable

play
adjective in·com·men·su·ra·ble \ˌin-kə-ˈmen(t)s-rə-bəl, -ˈmen(t)sh-; -ˈmen(t)-sə-, -shə-\

Definition of incommensurable

  1. :  not commensurable; broadly :  lacking a basis of comparison in respect to a quality normally subject to comparison

incommensurability play \-ˌmen(t)s-rə-ˈbi-lə-tē, -ˌmen(t)sh-; -ˌmen(t)-sə-, -shə-\ noun
incommensurable noun
incommensurably play \-ˈmen(t)s-rə-blē, -ˈmen(t)sh-; -ˈmen(t)-sə-, -shə-\ adverb


Did You Know?

Commensurable means "having a common measure" or "corresponding in size, extent, amount, or degree." Its antonym incommensurable generally refers to things that are unlike and incompatible, sharing no common ground (as in the "incommensurable theories" of the first example sentence), or to things that are very disproportionate, often to the point of defying comparison ("incommensurable crimes"). Both words entered English in the 1500s and were originally used (as they still can be) for numbers that have or don't have a common divisor. They came to English by way of Middle French and Late Latin, ultimately deriving from the Latin noun mensura, meaning "measure." Mensura is also an ancestor of commensurate (meaning "coextensive" or "proportionate") and incommensurate ("disproportionate" or "insufficient"), which overlap in meaning with commensurable and incommensurable but are not exact synonyms.

1570

First Known Use of incommensurable

1570


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