Word of the Day

nondescript

audio pronunciation
March 11, 2012
adjective
\nahn-di-SKRIPT\
Definition
1
: belonging or appearing to belong to no particular class or kind : not easily described
2
: lacking distinctive or interesting qualities : dull, drab
Examples
The famous spy was a quiet, nondescript man that no one could describe even a few minutes after meeting him, which was clearly an advantage in his profession.

"There is a nondescript warehouse in town with contents so vital to the operations of American businesses and government that it is protected by guards armed with assault rifles." — From an article by Conor Shine in the Las Vegas Sun, November 7, 2011
Subscribe
Get the Word of the Day direct to your inbox — subscribe today!
Did You Know?
It is relatively easy to describe the origins of "nondescript" (and there's a hint in the first part of this sentence). "Nondescript" was formed by combining the prefix "non-" (meaning "not") with the past participle of the Latin verb "describere," meaning "to describe." It is no surprise, then, that when the word was adopted in the late 17th century by English speakers, it was typically applied to something (such as a genus or species) that had not yet been described. Other descriptive descendants of "describere" in English include "describe," "description," and "descriptive" itself, as well as the rare philosophical term "descriptum" ("something that is described").

Name That Synonym: Fill in the blanks to create a synonym of "nondescript": i_d_s_i_c_i_e. The answer is ...
More Words of the Day
Visit our archives to see previous selections.
Podcast
Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears