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
According to carnival lore, all three of these seemingly innocuous behaviors are guaranteed to bring bad luck.
The challenges are innocuous at first, but become increasingly more dangerous.
Ibrahimovic bagged 28 goals and 10 assists during a remarkable maiden campaign in England - lifting the EFL Cup and Europa League trophy in the process - before his season was cut short by the seemingly innocuous injury four months ago.
The innocuous explanation for this decline is that America is simply getting older.
That seemingly innocuous habit has gotten out of control in the past year, however, according to a new report.
The veteran pharmacist takes each customer aside, in a private setting, and shows them how to administer Narcan, a nasal spray that looks as innocuous as allergy medicine and is about as easy to use.
The Only Living Boy in New York is innocuous as far as misfires go.
The substance of what the two leaders discussed could have been perfectly innocuous, or not—
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).
Synonymsanodyne, benign, hurtless, innocent, harmless, inoffensive, safe, white
Antonymsadverse, bad, baleful, baneful, damaging, dangerous, deleterious, detrimental, evil, harmful, hurtful, ill, injurious, mischievous, nocuous, noxious, pernicious, prejudicial, wicked
Related Wordshealthful, healthy, salubrious, wholesome; benignant; sound, trustworthy; gentle, gracious, mild; nonthreatening, painless, unobjectionable; noncorrosive, nondestructive, nonfatal, noninfectious, nonlethal, nonpoisonous, nonpolluting, nontoxic, nonvenomous
Near Antonymspoisonous, venomous; menacing, ominous, sinister, threatening; hazardous, imperiling (or imperilling), jeopardizing, parlous, perilous, risky, unsafe, unsound; nasty, noisome, unhealthful, unhealthy, unwholesome; offensive, painful, scathing, wounding; deadly, fatal, lethal, ruinous; destructive, insidious, malignant, noxious, pestilent, polluted, tainted
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
Definition of innocuous for Students
- innocuous chemicals
medical Definition of innocuous
Seen and Heard
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