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[in-kuh-men-ser-uh-buh l, -sher-] /ˌɪn kəˈmɛn sər ə bəl, -ʃər-/
not commensurable; having no common basis, measure, or standard of comparison.
utterly disproportionate.
Mathematics. (of two or more quantities) having no common measure.
something that is incommensurable.
Mathematics. one of two or more incommensurable quantities.
Origin of incommensurable
From the Late Latin word incommēnsūrābilis, dating back to 1550-60. See in-3, commensurable
Related forms
incommensurability, incommensurableness, noun
incommensurably, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for incommensurable
Historical Examples
  • But that the Diagony is incommensurable unto the side it is the 116 p x.

    The Way To Geometry Peter Ramus
  • Life introduces something indeterminate and incommensurable.

    Under the Maples John Burroughs
  • Hats are, in their physical aspects, incommensurable with wheat.

    The Value of Money Benjamin M. Anderson, Jr.
  • This includes the incommensurable case, but this case may be omitted.

    The Teaching of Geometry David Eugene Smith
  • His ideal is the extraordinary, the gigantic, the overwhelming, the incommensurable.

    French Classics William Cleaver Wilkinson
  • The incommensurable of Pythagoras and the paradoxes of Zeno present the "no thoroughfares" of ancient mathematical thought.

    Creative Intelligence John Dewey, Addison W. Moore, Harold Chapman Brown, George H. Mead, Boyd H. Bode, Henry Waldgrave, Stuart James, Hayden Tufts, Horace M. Kallen
  • It is an incommensurable number which to five decimal places is equal to 2.71828.

  • The new gods thus far were not incommensurable with the old ones.

    The Religion of Numa Jesse Benedict Carter
  • The two things are not merely different, they are incommensurable.

  • Lastly, the Pythagoreans discovered the existence of incommensurable lines, or of irrationals.

    Archimedes Thomas Little Heath
British Dictionary definitions for incommensurable


incapable of being judged, measured, or considered comparatively
(postpositive) foll by with. not in accordance; incommensurate
  1. (of two numbers) having an irrational ratio
  2. not having units of the same dimension
  3. unrelated to another measurement by integral multiples
something incommensurable
Derived Forms
incommensurability, incommensurableness, noun
incommensurably, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for incommensurable

1550s, from Middle French incommensurable or directly from Medieval Latin incommensurabilis, from in- "not, opposite of, without" (see in- (1)) + Late Latin commensurabilis, from Latin com- "with" + mensurabilis "measurable," from mensurare "to measure" (see measure (v.)). Related: Incommensurably.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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