incredulous


in·cred·u·lous

adjective \(ˌ)in-ˈkre-jə-ləs, -dyə-ləs\

: not able or willing to believe something : feeling or showing a lack of belief

Full Definition of INCREDULOUS

1
:  unwilling to admit or accept what is offered as true :  not credulous :  skeptical
2
:  incredible 1
3
:  expressing incredulity <an incredulous stare>
in·cred·u·lous·ly adverb

Usage Discussion of INCREDULOUS

Sense 2 was revived in the 20th century after a couple of centuries of disuse. Although it is a sense with good literary precedent—among others Shakespeare used it—many people think it is a result of confusion with incredible, which is still the usual word in this sense.

Examples of INCREDULOUS

  1. She listened to his explanation with an incredulous smile.
  2. He was incredulous at the news.
  3. Many people were incredulous that such a small fire could have caused so much damage.
  4. Afraid not. I made an expression to show that I was as incredulous about this as he was. —Bill Bryson, I'm a Stranger Here Myself, 1999

Origin of INCREDULOUS

Latin incredulus, from in- + credulus credulous
First Known Use: 1579

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