adjective con·spic·u·ous \ kən-ˈspi-kyə-wəs , -kyü-əs \
|Updated on: 3 Jul 2018

Definition of conspicuous

1 : obvious to the eye or mind
  • conspicuous changes
  • The bird has a conspicuous red head.
2 : attracting attention : striking
  • a conspicuous success
  • His absence was conspicuous.
3 : marked by a noticeable violation of good taste




play \kən-ˈspi-kyə-wəs-nəs, -kyü-əs-\ noun

Examples of conspicuous in a Sentence

  1. Conspicuous species of large organisms with small populations are vulnerable—and several fishes and marine mammals, including Steller's sea cow, have succumbed. —Stephen Jay GouldNatural HistoryJune 1991
  2. Its most conspicuous feature was knee breeches, which showed off his well-turned legs and feet. —Richard EllmannOscar Wilde1984
  3. There were a number of conspicuous changes to the building.

  4. The sign was placed in a very conspicuous spot.

  5. The bird has a conspicuous red head.

  6. She felt very conspicuous in her pink coat.

  7. He was uncomfortable about his conspicuous weight gain.

  8. The business was a conspicuous success.

Recent Examples of conspicuous from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of conspicuous

Latin conspicuus, from conspicere to get sight of, from com- + specere to look — more at spy

Synonym Discussion of conspicuous

noticeable, remarkable, prominent, outstanding, conspicuous, salient, striking mean attracting notice or attention. noticeable applies to something unlikely to escape observation.
    • a piano recital with no noticeable errors
remarkable applies to something so extraordinary or exceptional as to invite comment.
    • a film of remarkable intelligence and wit
prominent applies to something commanding notice by standing out from its surroundings or background.
    • a doctor who occupies a prominent position in the town
outstanding applies to something that rises above and excels others of the same kind.
    • honored for her outstanding contributions to science
conspicuous applies to something that is obvious and unavoidable to the sight or mind.
    • conspicuous bureaucratic waste
salient applies to something of significance that merits the attention given it.
    • the salient points of the speech
striking applies to something that impresses itself powerfully and deeply upon the observer's mind or vision.
    • the region's striking poverty

CONSPICUOUS Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of conspicuous for English Language Learners

  • : very easy to see or notice

  • : attracting attention by being great or impressive

CONSPICUOUS Defined for Kids


adjective con·spic·u·ous \ kən-ˈspi-kyə-wəs \

Definition of conspicuous for Students

1 : easily seen
  • Put the sign in a conspicuous spot.
2 : attracting attention : prominent
  • I felt conspicuous.



Word Root of conspicuous

The Latin word specere, meaning “to look” or “to look at,” gives us the roots spec, spic, and spect. Words from the Latin specere have something to do with looking or watching. A spectator is a person who watches something, such as a sports event. Anything conspicuous is easy to see. To inspect is to look very closely at all parts of something. A specimen, or sample, is one example or one part that can show what the rest look like.

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a downward inclination or slope

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