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
How did a seemingly innocuous breakfast food get tied up with Atomic Age research?
For most of her young life, Marquez Robles thought the fact that she was born in Mexico was innocuous.
These items are usually innocuous, providing no immediately visible negative effect, so people tend to keep them around, rather than disposing of them.
If the soldier on patrol never knows what danger lurks around the corner, the veteran, likewise, has no idea what small, innocuous thing might be a comfort - or an emotional trigger.
No piece of personal information is innocuous, Tilley said.
Potentially innocuous tweets are broken down like game tape.
Some are relatively innocuous, like the creation of a chief evaluation officer at every agency to promote good practices.
As Hurricane Jose ambles northward in the Atlantic far off the East Coast, an innocuous-sounding system has turned into Tropical Storm Maria in the Caribbean and could well follow Irma's destructive path toward Florida as a full-blown hurricane.
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
INNOCUOUS Defined for Kids
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