nondescript

adjective
non·​de·​script | \ˌnän-di-ˈskript \

Definition of nondescript 

1 : belonging or appearing to belong to no particular class or kind : not easily described … a nondescript mixture of styles in the worst possible taste.— George Bernard Shaw

2 : lacking distinctive or interesting qualities : dull, drab Their performance was disappointingly nondescript.

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Other Words from nondescript

nondescript noun

How Nondescript Was Formed

It is relatively easy to describe the origins of "nondescript" (and there's a hint in the first part of this sentence). "Nondescript" was formed by combining the prefix non- (meaning "not") with the past participle of the Latin verb describere, meaning "to describe." It is no surprise, then, that when the word was adopted in the late 17th century by English speakers, it was typically applied to something (such as a genus or species) that had not yet been described. Other descriptive descendants of "describere" in English include "describe," "description," and "descriptive" itself, as well as the rare philosophical term "descriptum" ("something that is described").

Examples of nondescript in a Sentence

I work in one of the nondescript office buildings downtown. Their performance was disappointingly nondescript.

Recent Examples on the Web

Danaher is located on the eighth floor of a nondescript glass office building in Washington, D.C. There are no signs for the company in the lobby or on the building. Russell Adams, WSJ, "Can Larry Culp Fix GE?," 6 Oct. 2018 They were mourned by a couple of hundred people gathered at a temple, a nondescript two-story building in the north of the city, before the bodies were taken to be cremated. New York Times, "Bomb Rattles an Afghan Minority So Small ‘No One Is a Stranger’," 2 July 2018 Sushisho Masa Sushisho Masa is an intimate seven-seater in the basement of a nondescript building in Nishi-Azabu. Melinda Joe, Condé Nast Traveler, "22 Best Places for Sushi in Tokyo," 27 Feb. 2018 That’s a nondescript way to describe a spectacle — headlined by major stars including The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar — that WWE would usually blitz fans with bombastic hype to promote. Dan Gelston, The Seattle Times, "WWE sticks with Saudi Arabia deal despite backlash from fans," 30 Oct. 2018 The low-slung building on Evans Avenue with the greenhouse roof blends into the surroundings in an uninspiring stretch of Denver, all nondescript retail and pockets of ranch homes. Kevin Dupzyk, Popular Mechanics, "Kimbal Musk Is Reinventing Food One Shipping Container at a Time," 24 Oct. 2018 From the outside, the building is a nondescript block of concrete, a bit like a brutalist post office. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Ai Weiwei’s first U.S. building is an artful block of concrete," 9 Oct. 2018 The packaging for the repair cream, like the mist, comes in a nondescript white tube that isn't quite as catchy as the other more Insta-friendly stuff on shelves. Rachel Jacoby Zoldan, Glamour, "The No-Frills Face Cream That Tackles the Toughest Dry Spots," 27 Aug. 2018 The rest of this draft was nondescript, though Kevin Pamphile has toggled between the top of the bench and bottom of the starting lineup. Andy Benoit, SI.com, "True NFL Draft Grades: 2014 Draft, Four Years Later," 8 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'nondescript.' 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 nondescript

1789, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for nondescript

non- + Latin descriptus, past participle of describere to describe

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Statistics for nondescript

Last Updated

4 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for nondescript

The first known use of nondescript was in 1789

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More Definitions for nondescript

nondescript

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of nondescript

: not easily described : having no special or interesting qualities, parts, etc. : typical and uninteresting

nondescript

adjective
non·​de·​script | \ˌnän-di-ˈskript \

Kids Definition of nondescript

: having no special or interesting characteristics : not easily described a nondescript building

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More from Merriam-Webster on nondescript

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with nondescript

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for nondescript

Spanish Central: Translation of nondescript

Nglish: Translation of nondescript for Spanish Speakers

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