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 Refusing to cover mental health care during a suicide epidemic is absurd. Sy Mukherjee, Fortune, "How coronavirus panic is making virus containment more difficult," 8 Feb. 2020 Life for him is too absurd to wallow in tragedy and too depressing for feel-good banalities. Mark Richardson, WSJ, "‘Have We Met’ by Destroyer Review: The Drollest Figure in Rock," 29 Jan. 2020 Recent media reports that suggest the Kingdom is behind a hacking of Mr. Jeff Bezos' phone are absurd. Dalvin Brown, USA TODAY, "Saudi Arabia denies hacking Jeff Bezos' phone," 24 Jan. 2020 Recent media reports that suggest the Kingdom is behind a hacking of Mr. Jeff Bezos' phone are absurd. Louise Matsakis, Wired, "Everything We Know About the Jeff Bezos Phone Hack," 22 Jan. 2020 The show was an artful deception from start to finish, giddy with its own twists and turns (guided by an actual philosopher, Clemson University professor Todd May) and happy to lapse into the absurd. Washington Post, "What did ‘The Good Place’ teach us? That even eternal bliss needs a happy ending.," 31 Jan. 2020 As Escher once said, ‘Only those who attempt the absurd will achieve the impossible. Mary Ann Grossmann, Twin Cities, "Readers and Writers: 2019 had a visit from a rock star author and authors who rocked First Avenue," 14 Dec. 2019 For while the preposterousness of operatic plots strains credulity, such ridiculousness plays quite well in comedy, which thrives on the absurd. Howard Reich, chicagotribune.com, "Lyric Opera review: A wickedly funny ‘Barber of Seville’ begins season," 29 Sep. 2019 Nothing to See Here, Kevin Wilson (Oct. 29) Known for inserting the absurd amongst the mundane, author Kevin Wilson’s latest novel again dips into inventive territory, this time in the form of children who burst into flames when upset. Annabel Gutterman, Time, "The 42 Most Anticipated Books of Fall 2019," 30 Aug. 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

22 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Absurd.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/absurd?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=a&file=absurd01. Accessed 22 Feb. 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

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