non·​de·​script | \ ˌnän-di-ˈskript How to pronounce nondescript (audio) \

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

For the record, Bennet is an average guy and nondescript in every way. Abigail Van Buren, oregonlive, "Dear Abby: 40-year-old daughter sneaking boyfriend in for overnights," 17 Sep. 2019 The story reenactments are shot in Knoxville, Tenn., while Kenda’s talking-head moments are gathered in a nondescript office building in the Springs, according to producers. John Wenzel, The Know, "Colorado Springs-based “Homicide Hunter” sets finale as Lt. Joe Kenda eyes next TV project," 25 Aug. 2019 The restaurant is in a large, squat cinder block building, suitably nondescript and not flashy, as a barbecue joint should be. Larry Olmsted, USA TODAY, "Nashville's destination dry ribs," 22 Feb. 2018 The fried chicken daily special is also served with a cornbread muffin, which was pretty nondescript, so allocated stomach space otherwise. Matt Wake |, al, "The new fried chicken in Huntsville you have to try," 12 Sep. 2019 The space is nondescript: a small room with a few institutional tables and a door through which to request materials from an archive that stretches out of view. David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times, "Inside the archives — and mind — of sci-fi legend Philip K. Dick," 16 Aug. 2019 Three photographs released by KCNA show Kim, in a gray collarless suit, standing besides the hulking vessel inside a nondescript warehouse. Joshua Berlinger, CNN, "Kim Jong Un seen beside apparent submarine in state media photographs," 22 July 2019 On Friday, September 6th Telfar Clemens teased his latest collection at a nondescript location in Brooklyn. Ashley Rushford, Essence, "NYFW: Inside Telfar's Epic Film Screening Ahead of Paris Fashion Week Debut," 8 Sep. 2019 The module was supposed to land at a nondescript site between two craters close to the lunar south pole. The Economist, "Bangalore, we have a problem," 7 Sep. 2019

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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Last Updated

9 Oct 2019

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Time Traveler for nondescript

The first known use of nondescript was in 1789

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More Definitions for nondescript



English Language Learners Definition of nondescript

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


non·​de·​script | \ ˌnän-di-ˈskript How to pronounce nondescript (audio) \

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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