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

Here are five of the president’s most controversial — or, simply absurd — tweets from over the holiday break. 1. Jewel Wicker, Teen Vogue, "President Donald Trump Tweeted Incessantly Over the Holiday Break," 2 Jan. 2019 Expanding its scope to include something with as many potential uses as Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube—let alone your smartphone as a whole—pushes the inquiry to borderline absurd levels of vagueness. Robbie Gonzalez, WIRED, "Congress Is About to Learn Just How Little Science Knows About Tech Addiction," 23 May 2018 However, any generalizations about environmentalists are absurd. WSJ, "Well-Sited Wind Towers Make Good Sense," 11 Feb. 2019 The notion that indigenous life was perfect and Western culture is the locus of all evil is as absurd as white supremacy. Alejandro Bermudez, WSJ, "Catholics Against Columbus," 24 Jan. 2019 But making the current standoff even more absurd is the fact that Congress actually has approved new spending, in prior legislation, for much of the government’s functions. Dylan Scott, Vox, "Why the blame game over the government shutdown is pointless," 21 Dec. 2018 The frantic display was so absurd that the color commentator just busted up laughing. Dan Gartland, SI.com, "Watch: Announcer Can’t Help But Laugh During Goal-Less Last-Second Chaos," 9 July 2018 But the Brexiteers don’t have an obvious champion who could replace Mrs May. Mr Johnson is too buffoonish, Michael Gove is too cerebral and Jacob Rees-Mogg is too absurd. The Economist, "Brexiteers fear being stitched up by the establishment," 14 June 2018 But that’s the genius of it: Kimmy’s loaded compliments and physical gestures are totally absurd. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "The Bleak Truths of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt," 31 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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Dictionary Entries near absurd

abstruse

abstrusity

absume

absurd

absurdism

absurdist

absurdity

Statistics for absurd

Last Updated

8 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

Comments on absurd

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