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

Synonyms & Antonyms for absurd

Synonyms: Adjective

bizarre, crazy, fanciful, fantastic (also fantastical), foolish, insane, nonsensical, preposterous, unreal, wild

Antonyms: Adjective

realistic, reasonable

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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

Then there was the practical: The absurd, courtesy of Nick Offerman: The biblio-centric: 1.bookshelf. Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, "The Best Responses to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Asking What She Should Buy for Her Apartment," 14 Mar. 2019 With that in mind, Juul decided to pay each employee something of an absurd holiday bonus — averaging out to more than $1 million each — to boost morale internally, according to a person close to the deal. Theodore Schleifer, Recode, "In an extraordinary move, Juul is trying to make peace with its investors and employees by paying them more than $4 billion," 21 Dec. 2018 Apexphotos The list of what travelers can't do in Venice is about to get more absurd longer. Erin Florio, Condé Nast Traveler, "Venice May Ban Sitting in Public Spaces," 21 Sep. 2018 Riley’s story is Kafkaesque, exposing both Cash and the audience to more and more absurd moments. Vann R. Newkirk Ii, The Atlantic, "Sorry to Bother You Is a Dystopian Send-Up of Dystopias," 13 July 2018 The biggest problem with the evergreen lawsuit wasn’t its absurd legal argument that the evergreen clause violated the Texas Constitution by supposedly forcing the city into debt. Gilbert Garcia, San Antonio Express-News, "Court cases demonstrate Sculley’s disregard for process," 11 July 2018 The voyage of the Peak Pegasus lent an absurd but fitting tinge to the beginning of what could be a very serious trade war between the United States and China. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Why Trump Might Lose His Trade War With China," 9 July 2018 Obviously that law can be taken to an absurd extreme. Peter Coy, Bloomberg.com, "Activists Finger Nine Highway-Construction ‘Boondoggles’," 27 June 2018 This would be an absurd price for any domestic animal, in my opinion, especially one weighing under five pounds. Melanie Caduhada, The Cut, "That Time My Ex Tried to Buy Me Out of Our Cat," 19 June 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

Statistics for absurd

Last Updated

22 Mar 2019

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 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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with absurd

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for absurd

Spanish Central: Translation of absurd

Nglish: Translation of absurd for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of absurd for Arabic Speakers

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