in·​cred·​u·​lous | \ (ˌ)in-ˈkre-jə-ləs, -dyə-ləs\

Definition of incredulous

1 : unwilling to admit or accept what is offered as true : not credulous : skeptical
3 : expressing incredulity an incredulous stare

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Other Words from incredulous

incredulously adverb

Can incredulous mean 'incredible'?: Usage Guide

Sense 2 was revived in the 20th century after a couple of centuries of disuse. Although it is a sense with good literary precedent—among others Shakespeare used it—it is widely regarded as an error resulting from confusion with incredible, and its occurrence in published writing is rare.

Examples of incredulous in a Sentence

"Afraid not." I made an expression to show that I was as incredulous about this as he was. — Bill Bryson, I'm a Stranger Here Myself, 1999 A tweed-encased fogey, he's allergic to technology, persnickety about language, and incredulous that anyone could object to his incessant smoking. — John Powers, Vogue, March 1998 He was greeted with incredulous laughter. — Robert M. Hutchins, Center Magazine, September 1968 … no obstacle, no incredulous or unsafe circumstance … — William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night, 1602 She listened to his explanation with an incredulous smile. He was incredulous at the news. Many people were incredulous that such a small fire could have caused so much damage.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Opposition lawmakers were incredulous at the position Poland was in. Marc Santora,, "Poland softens Holocaust law, removes criminal penalties for those accused of implicating nation," 28 June 2018 Larry Scott doesn’t believe the Pac-12 has a credibility issue, a conclusion that made me, well, incredibly incredulous. Larry Stone, The Seattle Times, "Pac-12, Conference of Champions? Right now, ‘Conference of Credibility Issues’ is a better nickname," 23 Oct. 2018 That left Hooks, who has sparred in court with the special prosecutors for months, incredulous. Megan Crepeau,, "Judge orders accused cop killer Jackie Wilson freed days after finding confession tainted," 22 June 2018 Opposition lawmakers were incredulous at the position Poland was in. Marc Santora,, "Poland softens Holocaust law, removes criminal penalties for those accused of implicating nation," 28 June 2018 Opposition lawmakers were incredulous at the position Poland was in. Marc Santora, New York Times, "Poland’s Holocaust Law Weakened After ‘Storm and Consternation’," 27 June 2018 Some of the incredulous fans are still rubbing their eyes in disbelief that Ronaldo is joining Juventus. Daniella Matar,, "Ronaldo mania inspires 'CR7' ice cream, pizza," 13 July 2018 In their twice-weekly episodes Favreau, Lovett and Vietor delve into the latest political news with a fitting blend of incredulous humor and righteous rage, and host compelling interviews with politicians, journalists and activists. Emma Dibdin, Esquire, "The 20 Best Podcasts of 2017," 15 Dec. 2017 Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, ostensibly one of Trump’s closer allies, has his arms folded and appears incredulous. Meagan Fredette,, "What Happened In This Iconic Photo Of Angela Merkel & Donald Trump?," 10 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'incredulous.' 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 incredulous

1579, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for incredulous

Latin incredulus, from in- + credulus credulous

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Last Updated

19 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for incredulous

The first known use of incredulous was in 1579

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English Language Learners Definition of incredulous

: not able or willing to believe something : feeling or showing a lack of belief


in·​cred·​u·​lous | \ in-ˈkre-jə-ləs \

Kids Definition of incredulous

: feeling or showing disbelief

Other Words from incredulous

incredulously adverb

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Comments on incredulous

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


a complex dispute or argument

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