incredulous

play
adjective in·cred·u·lous \(ˌ)in-ˈkre-jə-ləs, -dyə-ləs\

Definition of incredulous

  1. 1 :  unwilling to admit or accept what is offered as true :  not credulous :  skeptical

  2. 2 :  incredible 1

  3. 3 :  expressing incredulity <an incredulous stare>

incredulously

adverb

Usage Discussion of incredulous

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—many people think it is a result of confusion with incredible, which is still the usual word in this sense.

Examples of incredulous in a sentence

  1. “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

  2. 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

  3. He was greeted with incredulous laughter. —Robert M. Hutchins, Center Magazine,, September 1968

  4. … no obstacle, no incredulous or unsafe circumstance … —William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night, 1602

  5. She listened to his explanation with an incredulous smile.

  6. He was incredulous at the news.

  7. Many people were incredulous that such a small fire could have caused so much damage.

Origin and Etymology of incredulous

Latin incredulus, from in- + credulus credulous


First Known Use: 1579


INCREDULOUS Defined for English Language Learners

incredulous

play
adjective in·cred·u·lous \(ˌ)in-ˈkre-jə-ləs, -dyə-ləs\

Definition of incredulous for English Language Learners

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


INCREDULOUS Defined for Kids

incredulous

play
adjective in·cred·u·lous \in-ˈkre-jə-ləs\

Definition of incredulous for Students

  1. :  feeling or showing disbelief

incredulously

adverb


Seen and Heard

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

WORD OF THE DAY

a harsh rebuke

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

  • hot-dog--hot-dog--hot-dog--hot-dog-cat
  • Which of the following words is not a synonym for ‘a young person’?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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

TAKE THE QUIZ