Word of the Day : March 2, 2018

nondescript

play
adjective nahn-dih-SKRIPT

Definition

1 : belonging or appearing to belong to no particular class or kind : not easily described

2 : lacking distinctive or interesting qualities : dull, drab

Did You Know?

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 descriptus,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

The famous spy was a quiet, nondescript man that people had a difficult time describing even a few minutes after meeting him, which was clearly an advantage in his profession.

"Crowds of tech aficionados, news crews and the simply curious turned out for the public opening of Amazon's checkout-free convenience store Monday, giving a generally nondescript sidewalk the air of an Apple store the day a new iPhone comes out." — Elizabeth Weise and Amity Addrisi, The Dayton (Ohio) Daily News, 23 Jan. 2018



Test Your Vocabulary

Fill in the blanks to complete a word that refers to a nondescript person or thing: _ h _ _ n _ t.

VIEW THE ANSWER

Podcast


More Words of the Day

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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