absurd

adjective
ab·surd | \ əb-ˈsərd , -ˈzərd \

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
ab·surd | \ əb-ˈsərd , -ˈzərd \

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 the the theater of the absurd

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Other words from absurd

Adjective

absurdly adverb
absurdness noun

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

Or just people who easily believe in absurd things? Film Crit Hulk, The Verge, "Don’t feed the trolls, and other hideous lies," 12 July 2018 At its most absurd, the maneuver is deployed in the United States to demonize progressive Democratic candidates advocating greater social welfare. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, "Not Trump or Chávez, Mexico’s president-elect won’t fit your political analogy," 3 July 2018 The idea of LeBron James in a Los Angeles Lakers uniform would have been absurd, even for the soap opera that is the NBA, at one point not too long ago. Ben Cohen, WSJ, "How LeBron James Was Courted by the Lakers," 2 July 2018 This is either brilliant satire or one of the most absurd political ads in history,’’ wrote another viewer on YouTube. Samantha Schmidt, BostonGlobe.com, "Candidate for Georgia governor aims gun at teen in campaign ad," 2 May 2018 And, judging by the trailer that was released on Thursday, the women — and their fabulously absurd orange-red wigs — are going to give the Academy a run for its money come 2019. refinery29.com, "Margot Robbie & Saoirse Ronan's Orange Wigs Alone Are Oscar-Worthy In Mary Queen Of Scots Trailer," 12 July 2018 Sartre, with that riveting certainty of his, thought death was an absurd conundrum. The Economist, "Claude Lanzmann died on July 5th," 12 July 2018 This seaweed struggle, and the fate of A. nodosum itself, hinges on a single question, patently absurd yet bizarrely complex: is rockweed, in defiance of logic and biology, really a fish? Ben Goldfarb, Smithsonian, "How Seaweed Connects Us All," 31 May 2018 What Treichl had created was a paean to a kind of British noble life that barely exists anymore, the reincarnation of an ersatz Downton Abbey, itself a fiction, which struck some, including Makepeace, as a bit absurd. David Usborne, Town & Country, "The Mysterious Case of the Parnham House Fire," 29 May 2018

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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Learn More about absurd

Dictionary Entries near absurd

abstruse

abstrusity

absume

absurd

absurdism

absurdist

absurdity

Phrases Related to absurd

the absurd

Statistics for absurd

Last Updated

20 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for absurd

The first known use of absurd was in 1530

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More Definitions for absurd

absurd

adjective
ab·surd | \ əb-ˈsərd , -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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Comments on absurd

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