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
Privacy - Terms The result was a fun mixture of cultures, with occasional clashes, mostly embarrassments or misunderstandings of eccentricities that seemed innocuous and humorous.
While the photo is pretty innocuous, only showing the two holding hands, the Internet and Swift's fans had a lot to say about the couple's romantic unveiling.
The most innocuous of attire, the basic yoga pant, has once again come under fire.
He was equally intrigued by other infections that are perfectly survivable or even innocuous for most of us but send some individuals to their grave.
But Jarry counters that his targets aren’t anywhere near innocuous.
Fifty years ago, as now, the majority of the country hitmakers were comparatively innocuous.
The boy claimed to be a budding journalist and asked seemingly innocuous questions about the recovery process.
One common strategy straight out of the mugger’s playbook is to catch victims off guard by asking an innocuous question.
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
Definition of innocuous for English Language Learners
: not likely to bother or offend anyone
: causing no injury
INNOCUOUS Defined for Kids
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