innocuous was our Word of the Day on 07/15/2015. Hear the podcast!
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Examples of innocuous in a Sentence
- Gossip is a relatively innocuous manifestation; fashioning one's self as eternally battling a white America mired in "racism" is a more noisome one. —John McWhorter, Wall Street Journal, 17 Sept. 2003
- Small and innocuous looking, the habanero is uncontested as the hottest pepper in the world, the mother of all peppers. —Jim Robbins, Smithsonian, January 1992
- And there was LeRoy … a somewhat gruesome but innocuous neighborhood dimwit who gave me the creeps when he sat down on the front stoop to listen to a bunch of us talking after school. —Philip Roth, New York Times Book Review, 18 Oct. 1987
- The salamander, an innocuous amphibian like a big newt, was also regarded with a mixture of horror and awe. —David Attenborough, The First Eden, 1987
He told a few innocuous jokes.
those innocuous lies we must tell every day if society is to remain civil
Recent Examples of innocuous from the Web
Critics have specifically pointed out that Sarahah and other similar apps offer a consequence-free environment where users can send anonymous messages that could be perfectly innocuous, or incredibly hurtful.
Newton is getting crucified for an innocuous comment.
In a normal time, this small-town squabble might have ended in some innocuous lesser charge.
Meanwhile, even the most innocuous criticism or potential embarrassment has been scrubbed out.
Topics once considered innocuous like celebrity news and gossip are now seen as sensitive.
But seedy entertainment is actually the most innocuous display of female nudity in Blade Runner 2049; violent female deaths are run-of-the-mill in this movie.
There is danger everywhere in this outwardly innocuous ritual.
Podesta -- who did not work for the government at the time, but communicated with important figures in government and politics -- clicked a link in an innocuous-looking email, purporting to be a password-reset prompt from Google.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'innocuous.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Look at the Prefix to Define innocuous
Innocuous has harmful roots – it comes to us from the Latin adjective innocuus, which was formed by combining the negative prefix in- with a form of the verb nocēre, meaning "to harm" or "to hurt." In addition, nocēre is related to the truly "harmful" words noxious, nocent, and even nocuous. Innocent is from nocēre as well, although like innocuous it has the in- prefix negating the hurtful possibilities. Innocuous first appeared in print in the early 17th century with the clearly Latin-derived meaning "harmless or causing no injury" (as in "an innocuous gas"). The second sense is a metaphorical extension of the idea of injury, used to indicate that someone or something does not cause hurt feelings, or even strong feelings ("an innocuous book" or "innocuous issues," for example).
INNOCUOUS Defined for English Language Learners
INNOCUOUS Defined for Kids
Seen and Heard
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