jux·​ta·​pose | \ ˈjək-stə-ˌpōz How to pronounce juxtapose (audio) \
juxtaposed; juxtaposing

Definition of juxtapose

transitive verb

: to place (different things) side by side (as to compare them or contrast them or to create an interesting effect) juxtapose unexpected combinations of colors, shapes and ideas— J. F. T. Bugental

Keep scrolling for more

Is juxtapose a Back-formation?

A back-formation is a word that has come about through the removal of a prefix or a suffix from a longer word. Etymologists think juxtapose is a back-formation that was created when people trimmed down the noun juxtaposition. Historical evidence supports the idea: juxtaposition was showing up in English documents as early as 1654, but juxtapose didn't appear until 1851. Juxtaposition is itself thought to be a combination of Latin juxta, meaning "near," and English position.

Examples of juxtapose in a Sentence

a display that juxtaposes modern art with classical art
Recent Examples on the Web This technique allowed Mehring to juxtapose color fields — in this case, gold and blue — with simple geometric shapes. Washington Post, "In the galleries: The Washington colorists and the CIA," 20 Nov. 2020 Much like the brand identity, the idea was to juxtapose two cultures from traditionally different worlds. Shelby Comroe, Marie Claire, "Stüssy Announces Its 40th Anniversary World Tour Collection," 16 Nov. 2020 Try mounting a bubble chandelier over a rustic farmhouse table for contrasting shapes and textures, or hang one in a formal living room filled with antique furniture and vintage art to beautifully juxtapose styles and eras. Jessica Bennett, Better Homes & Gardens, "Bubble Chandeliers Are the Fun Modern Fixture Popping Up Everywhere," 29 Oct. 2020 But ultimately, health-care workers offer the strongest testimonies, perspectives the filmmakers juxtapose with the administration’s rosy updates. Shirley Li, The Atlantic, "The COVID-19 Documentary All Americans Need to See," 19 Oct. 2020 Now juxtapose that vibe with money that has flowed from several NFL owners toward political causes during this election cycle. Jarrett Bell, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Some NFL owners send mixed messages with political support for Trump," 1 Oct. 2020 The viewer is invited to juxtapose these mortality rates against a concentric circle in each diagram that expresses the average mortality rate of Manchester, one of the deadliest towns in England at the time. Popular Science, "Infographics have helped keep us alive for centuries," 7 Sep. 2020 Part of the film's pleasure is in how the directors juxtapose the weighty, righteous causes of its attorneys with their humbler, eminently human lives. Jake Coyle, Star Tribune, "Review: 'The Fight' documents the ACLU in the age of Trump," 29 July 2020 And don’t be afraid to juxtapose patterns, like stripes and florals. Laura Itzkowitz, House Beautiful, "How to Add Some Italian Seaside Style to Your Home This Summer," 16 July 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'juxtapose.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of juxtapose

1851, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for juxtapose

probably back-formation from juxtaposition

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about juxtapose

Time Traveler for juxtapose

Time Traveler

The first known use of juxtapose was in 1851

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about juxtapose

Statistics for juxtapose

Last Updated

26 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Juxtapose.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/juxtapose. Accessed 5 Dec. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for juxtapose


How to pronounce juxtapose (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of juxtapose

formal : to place (different things) together in order to create an interesting effect or to show how they are the same or different

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on juxtapose

What made you want to look up juxtapose? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!