in·​con·​gru·​ous | \ (ˌ)in-ˈkäŋ-grə-wəs How to pronounce incongruous (audio) \

Definition of incongruous

: lacking congruity: such as
a : not harmonious : incompatible incongruous colors
b : not conforming : disagreeing conduct incongruous with principle
c : inconsistent within itself an incongruous story
d : lacking propriety : unsuitable incongruous manners

Other Words from incongruous

incongruously adverb
incongruousness noun

Did you know?

Incongruous is a spin-off of its antonym, congruous, which means "in agreement, harmony, or correspondence." Etymologists are in agreement about the origin of both words: they trace to the Latin congruus, from the verb congruere, which means "to come together" or "to agree." The dates of these words' first uses in English match up pretty well, too. Both words are first known to have appeared in English in the early 1580s.

Examples of incongruous in a Sentence

There is something incongruous about Oslo. — Hugh C. McDonald, The Hour of the Blue Fox, 1975 … it would be as incongruous to meet her at the end of a chapter as it would be to see the dawn break in the west … — Herman Wouk, Aurora Dawn, 1947 He ate enormously, with a zest which seemed incongruous with his spare frame. — Willa Cather, The Song of the Lark, 1915 His outburst seemed incongruous to those who know him well. there's an incongruous modernism to the actor's performance in this period piece
Recent Examples on the Web Today’s job numbers are incongruous with fears that recession is dead ahead. Rob Wile, NBC News, 8 July 2022 This isn’t without literary technique: Céline takes ordinary racist stereotypes, adds an enormous amount of verbal energy and extended metaphor, and crowns his insults with an incongruous nod to beauty pageants. Alice Kaplan, The New York Review of Books, 6 July 2022 The large-scale collages are based on aspirational photos of affluent, mid-20th-century American suburbia, into which the artist inserts incongruous elements. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, 10 June 2022 Then, of course, I would not have been rewarded with that incongruous picnic. Darren Franich,, 1 June 2022 The air was cool with incongruous pockets of warmth. Christopher Borrelli, Chicago Tribune, 14 May 2022 Pork-style carp isn't the only incongruous dish on the menu on the lake. Julia Buckley, CNN, 12 May 2022 The Offspring have been around so long — since 1984 — that the band’s name sounds incongruous these days. David L. Coddon, San Diego Union-Tribune, 21 Apr. 2022 Levin called the Illinois Democrat a 21st Century version of Napoleon Bonaparte who wanted incongruous control of questioning. Fox News, 24 Mar. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of incongruous

1582, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for incongruous

Late Latin incongruus, from Latin in- + congruus congruous

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Time Traveler for incongruous

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The first known use of incongruous was in 1582

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Last Updated

4 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Incongruous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for incongruous


in·​con·​gru·​ous | \ in-ˈkäŋ-grə-wəs How to pronounce incongruous (audio) \

Kids Definition of incongruous

: not proper, suitable, or in harmony incongruous colors

More from Merriam-Webster on incongruous

Nglish: Translation of incongruous for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of incongruous for Arabic Speakers


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