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

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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 The warmth and levity inside the fort were juxtaposed with the stark danger of the world just outside the walls of their sturdy shelter. Buddy Levy, Time, "The Story of an Extravagant Christmas Dinner Near the North Pole in 1881," 23 Dec. 2019 The main live-band concert was juxtaposed against a number of scripted and more conventional DJ-sets earlier in the evening, by the likes of David Guetta Kygo, Laidback Luke, Nicky Romero, in what ultimately came off as an effective contrast. Sven Grundberg, Billboard, "David Guetta and Aloe Blacc Honor Avicii at Highly Emotional Tribute Concert In Stockholm," 6 Dec. 2019 Metal chairs and mid-century lighting are juxtaposed with a soft, traditional Herringbone bench seat while a vertical garden outside gives an enchanting, Secret Garden-like alternative to looking at the neighbor’s wall. Jennifer Blaise Kramer, House Beautiful, "The Indoor-Outdoor Dining Room in This San Francisco Victorian is Goals," 28 Nov. 2019 The color of each canvas is juxtaposed with a swipe of its complementary color, the excess of which drips down in bright strands. Claire Bugos, Smithsonian, "Artist Pat Steir Turns the Hirshhorn Into a Massive Color Wheel," 20 Nov. 2019 In Cottbus experimental photography from the 1980s was recently juxtaposed with a new series of photos of former neo-Nazis having their tattoos removed. The Economist, "Thirty years after the Wall fell, East German art is causing a stir," 31 Oct. 2019 While the show is often thematically dark, the tragedy and drama is juxtaposed frequently with many comedic moments. Pomerado News, "REVIEW: SDMT puts on a compelling ‘Man of La Mancha’," 2 Oct. 2019 But the commitment to preservation is juxtaposed with a rapidly gentrifying region as new shops, tall buildings, rising property taxes and increases in the cost of living invade the central business district. Nina Strochlic, National Geographic, "Sussex royals celebrate Cape Town’s colorful cultural bastion," 26 Sep. 2019 The classic façades are juxtaposed with the modern architecture in a truly spectacular way, and there are beautiful secret courtyards to be found around every corner. Farah Brook, The New Yorker, "Travel Adventures Through Other People’s Instagram Stories," 18 Sep. 2019

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.

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First Known Use of juxtapose

1851, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for juxtapose

probably back-formation from juxtaposition

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Learn More about juxtapose

Time Traveler for juxtapose

Time Traveler

The first known use of juxtapose was in 1851

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Statistics for juxtapose

Last Updated

9 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Juxtapose.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/juxtapose. Accessed 19 January 2020.

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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

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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).


to insert between existing elements

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