jux·​ta·​pose | \ˈjək-stə-ˌpōz \
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 story is about their slow descent into outright criminality, juxtaposed with the way said descent changes their family, sometimes for the better (but often for the worse). Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "Ozark’s muddy season 2, explained in 11 incomprehensible screenshots," 1 Sep. 2018 It is appropriately named Chalk White–a grey scale white, which works universally juxtaposed with cool and warm tones. Elle Decor Editors, ELLE Decor, "The Best White Paints, According To Top Interior Designers," 27 July 2018 The play draws from Tchaikovsky’s frank letters to his younger brother Modest — a confidante and occasional collaborator, and who happened to be gay as well — to juxtapose his tortured sexuality with his rewarding back-and-forths with von Meck. New York Times, "Review: ‘Tchaikovsky: None but the Lonely Heart’ Has Music and Passion. But Not Romance.," 1 June 2018 Come Sunday juxtaposes the sins of this world with those that pertain to the afterlife. Sarah Jones, The New Republic, "A Christian Awakening?," 24 Apr. 2018 Wenders, granted remarkable access to his subject over several months, juxtaposes these moving public displays of charity and concern with a lengthy sit-down interview. Justin Chang, chicagotribune.com, "'Pope Francis: A Man of His Word' review: Wim Wenders' documentary lets its subject ask the tough questions," 17 May 2018 Notoriously the modern city preserves traces of nearly all these ancient Romes, often incongruously juxtaposed. Greg Woolf, WSJ, "‘Rome: A History in Seven Sackings’ Review: The City That Survived," 29 June 2018 Her Fear the Future Tour juxtaposes her axe slinger side with a titillating, Bowie-esque pop art performance piece. Courtney Devores, charlotteobserver, "7 buzzworthy concerts coming to Charlotte in the next week | Charlotte Observer," 17 May 2018 Artnet News’ Henri Neuendorf writes that the Nazis’ Degenerate Art exhibition was juxtaposed with a Great German Art exhibition held in Munich. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "How the Brits Refuted Nazi Germany’s ‘Degenerate Art’ Exhibition," 13 June 2018

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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Statistics for juxtapose

Last Updated

11 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for juxtapose

The first known use of juxtapose was in 1851

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More Definitions for juxtapose



English Language Learners Definition of juxtapose

: 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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More from Merriam-Webster on juxtapose

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with juxtapose

Spanish Central: Translation of juxtapose

Nglish: Translation of juxtapose for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of juxtapose for Arabic Speakers

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).


a nest or breeding place

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