incongruous

adjective
in·con·gru·ous | \(ˌ)in-ˈkäŋ-grə-wəs \

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

Keep scrolling for more

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 verb congruere, which means "to come together" or "to agree." The dates of the words' first uses in English match up pretty well, too. The first known use of congruous dates from 1599, and the earliest print appearance of incongruous dates from 1611.

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Gahan’s performance also provided energy, often in a way incongruous with the apparent vibe of the music. Marc Hirsh, BostonGlobe.com, "At TD Garden, Depeche Mode lets in the light," 12 June 2018 Of course there was skin under the dark, formless garment, but the sight of it is incongruous and mildly shocking. Leah Ollman, latimes.com, "Naked body parts, hair as sculpture: The strange, sinister, seductive art of Julie Curtiss," 5 June 2018 Such space-age fantasy appears incongruous in Guizhou. The Economist, "One of China’s poorest provinces wants to be a tech hub," 31 May 2018 His missed penalty in a stodgy draw against Iceland set the tone but his vacant performance against Croatia felt too incongruous to be a one-off. Thomas Allnutt, chicagotribune.com, "Messi delivers as Argentina scrape through to World Cup's last 16," 26 June 2018 One of the greatest oil booms the country has ever seen was turning the area, a rural patch in the brush country south of San Antonio, into a startling and incongruous mix of cascading wealth and crushing hardship. Catherine Marfin, San Antonio Express-News, "Study: Texas ranks 43rd in child well-being," 26 June 2018 Wildlife Watch reported on this incongruous situation in April 2017, about six months after Animals Asia began a campaign to shut the circus down. National Geographic, "UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Drops Monkey Circus," 21 June 2018 And far from being an incongruous turn in her career, Cabral sees the new job as a natural extension of her efforts to reduce recidivism and keep communities safe from crime. Dan Adams, BostonGlobe.com, "Former state public safety official to head pot company," 8 June 2018 From the Rogue's driver's seat, that optional interior feels a little incongruous next to lots of black plastics of varying quality. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "The Nissan Rogue is a huge sales success, but is it any good? A review," 18 Apr. 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of incongruous

1611, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for incongruous

Late Latin incongruus, from Latin in- + congruus congruous

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about incongruous

Share incongruous

Listen to Our Podcast about incongruous

Statistics for incongruous

Last Updated

21 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for incongruous

The first known use of incongruous was in 1611

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for incongruous

incongruous

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of incongruous

: strange because of not agreeing with what is usual or expected

incongruous

adjective
in·con·gru·ous | \in-ˈkäŋ-grə-wəs \

Kids Definition of incongruous

: not proper, suitable, or in harmony incongruous colors

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on incongruous

What made you want to look up incongruous? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

lying above or upon

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!