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
The difficulty that even U.S. allies have in cracking down on relatively innocuous business activities shows the challenges in getting sanctions against North Korea to bite.
Against South Korea at the 2014 World Cup, an innocuous long shot slipped from his grasp and went in, paving the way for another early Russian exit from the tournament.
United’s Luciano Acosta was issued a straight red card for this innocuous-looking challenge on Philadelphia’s Haris Medunjanin.
Pride did, however, get an administrative shout-out via a pair of innocuous tweets from the president’s daughter-cum-employee Ivanka Trump.
A Facebook page that appears to belong to Belleville, Ill. ,resident Sue Hodgkinson shows a post from last November at the top — an innocuous message about the Toy Blast online game.
Trust names may be just the address or something so innocuous there’s nothing apparent about who the owner could be.
Its posts are innocuous, competent but aesthetically unambitious photos of ordinary things and people.
The website's usual users, Turla reasoned, would download and install the innocuous-sounding extension, then become part of Turla's botnet.
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 1598 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
Definition of innocuous for Students
: not harmful innocuous chemicals
Medical Definition of innocuous
: producing no injury : not harmful
Seen and Heard
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