absurd

adjective
ab·​surd | \ əb-ˈsərd How to pronounce absurd (audio) , -ˈzərd How to pronounce absurd (audio) \

Definition of absurd

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : ridiculously unreasonable, unsound, or incongruous an absurd argument : extremely silly or ridiculous absurd humor
2 : having no rational or orderly relationship to human life : meaningless an absurd universe also : lacking order or value an absurd existence
3 : dealing with the absurd (see absurd entry 2) or with absurdism absurd theater

absurd

noun

Definition of absurd (Entry 2 of 2)

: the state or condition in which human beings exist in an irrational and meaningless universe and in which human life has no ultimate meaning usually used with thethe theater of the absurd

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Other Words from absurd

Adjective

absurdly adverb
absurdness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for absurd

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Choose the Right Synonym for absurd

Adjective

absurd, foolish, and silly mean not showing good sense. absurd is used when something is not in keeping with common sense, good reasoning, or accepted ideas. The notion that horses can talk is absurd. foolish is used when something is not thought of by others as wise or sensible. You would be foolish to invest your money in that. silly is used when something makes no sense and has no purpose. They had a silly argument over who ate the most.

Making Sense of Absurd

Absurd contains the rarer related adjective surd, which, like absurd, derives from the Latin surdus ("deaf, silent, stupid").

Surd can mean "lacking sense or irrational," much like absurd:

While the grandparents might scratch their heads at the Star Wars references, the actors and perhaps some younger parents likely delighted in manic, jumbled and surd structure of the play.
–Patrick Clement, Kiowa County Signal (Greensburg, Kansas), 23 Jan. 2013

Absurd, however, stresses a lack of logical sense or harmonious agreement, of parts (such as a premise and a conclusion) not fitting together. In philosophy, it describes the problem of trying to distill meaning from one's experiences. In A Discourse on Novelty and Creation (1975), Carl R. Hausman writes, "There is an incongruity, an inconsistency, a conflict with a context that appears as lawful, orderly experience. As [Albert] Camus points out, absurdity 'springs from a comparison,' a comparison between two aspects of reality which seem to be out of harmony."

Examples of absurd in a Sentence

Adjective In an era when federal judges issue rulings that in their impact often rival the lawmaking of any legislature in the land, it is increasingly absurd that their proceedings should remain off-limits to the same wider public scrutiny that news cameras have brought to courts in 48 states. Editor & Publisher, 14 July 2003 By the time Showalter was fired one day after the end of last season, the stories of how he carried his attention to detail to absurd lengths—including his insistence that the A on the players' socks be completely visible—had been well circulated. — Phil Taylor, Sports Illustrated, 30 July 2001 This criticism, patently absurd to anyone who has read even a handful of Updike's more than 40 books, nevertheless has been made so often that it is worth Pritchard's long rebuttal. — Jonathan Wilson, New York Times Book Review, 24 Sept. 2000 Yet from time to time, virtually every parent falls back on threats, often absurd ones that leave Mom and Dad feeling foolish and the problem unresolved. — Dorothy Foltz-Gray, Parenting, December/January 1996 The charges against him are obviously absurd. absurd claims of having been abducted by UFO's
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective This is another devastating lesson: the great hollowing-out force of totalitarianism renders even tragedy absurd. Masha Gessen, The New Yorker, "“Jojo Rabbit” Captures the Horror and Absurdity of Our Trumpian Moment," 7 Jan. 2020 What makes all this worry even more absurd is that there’s evidence that there isn’t a sleep shortage at all. Molly Longman, refinery29.com, "Do You Suffer From Orthosomnia? The New Condition Sabotaging Our Sleep," 7 Jan. 2020 The Cowboys finished 26th in blitz rate (23%) this season, which is less than half the rate of the Ravens, a team that blitzed an absurd 54.9% of the time. John Owning, Dallas News, "Film room: Four New Year’s resolutions for the Dallas Cowboys in 2020," 1 Jan. 2020 Yes, there will be days when freezing temperatures, ice and snow will make the idea of outdoor work absurd. Washington Post, "The winter garden is full of promise and productivity. Don’t let it go to waste.," 20 Nov. 2019 FastHorse pokes at the absurd sincerity of her characters: Logan’s vegan verities, Jaxton’s yoga mat insights, Caden’s dramaturg hankerings, even Alicia’s dizzying Disney references. Lisa Kennedy, The Know, "In “The Thanksgiving Play,” cultural correctness, “enlightened white allies” and the perils of being “woke”," 19 Nov. 2019 The average voter in the three key states of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin is going to think this impeachment circus absurd. Hugh Hewitt, Twin Cities, "Hugh Hewitt: Impeachment-minded Democrats, welcome to Al Capone’s vault. Look familiar?," 26 Sep. 2019 Some of the rhetoric around Impeachment Day was absurd. Kathryn Jean Lopez, National Review, "Hope Beyond ‘Impeachmas’," 23 Dec. 2019 And one other thing: Check the terms of your program, which are absurd. Christopher Elliott, USA TODAY, "Here's how to leave your airline or hotel loyalty program – and what you can do instead," 21 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'absurd.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of absurd

Adjective

1530, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1946, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for absurd

Adjective

borrowed from Middle French absurde, going back to Old French absorde, borrowed from Latin absurdus "out of tune, uncouth, inappropriate, ridiculous," from ab- ab- + surdus "unhearing, deaf, muffled, dull" — more at surd entry 1

Noun

borrowed from French (l')absurde, derivative of absurde absurd entry 1

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Time Traveler for absurd

Time Traveler

The first known use of absurd was in 1530

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Statistics for absurd

Last Updated

11 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Absurd.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/absurd. Accessed 17 January 2020.

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More Definitions for absurd

absurd

adjective
ab·​surd | \ əb-ˈsərd How to pronounce absurd (audio) , -ˈzərd \

Kids Definition of absurd

: completely foolish, unreasonable, or untrue : ridiculous His claims are absurd.

Other Words from absurd

absurdly adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on absurd

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for absurd

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with absurd

Spanish Central: Translation of absurd

Nglish: Translation of absurd for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of absurd for Arabic Speakers

Comments on absurd

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