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[in-kuh m-pat-uh-buh l] /ˌɪn kəmˈpæt ə bəl/
not compatible; unable to exist together in harmony:
She asked for a divorce because they were utterly incompatible.
contrary or opposed in character; discordant:
incompatible colors.
that cannot coexist or be conjoined.
  1. (of two or more propositions) unable to be true simultaneously.
  2. (of two or more attributes of an object) unable to belong to the object simultaneously; inconsistent.
(of positions, functions, ranks, etc.) unable to be held simultaneously by one person.
Medicine/Medical. of or relating to biological substances that interfere with one another physiologically, as different types of blood in a transfusion.
Pharmacology. of or relating to drugs that interfere with one another chemically or physiologically and therefore cannot be mixed or prescribed together.
Usually, incompatibles. incompatible persons or things.
an incompatible drug or the like.
incompatibles, Logic.
  1. two or more propositions that cannot be true simultaneously.
  2. two or more attributes that cannot simultaneously belong to the same object.
Origin of incompatible
From the Medieval Latin word incompatibilis, dating back to 1555-65. See in-3, compatible
Related forms
incompatibility, incompatibleness, noun
incompatibly, adverb
1. unsuitable, unsuited. See inconsistent. 1, 2. inharmonious. 2. contradictory. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for incompatibilities
Historical Examples
  • I might continue the list of the incompatibilities of Hindu and Christian ideals.

  • That which is so distinct is bristling with incompatibilities.

    The Approach to Philosophy Ralph Barton Perry
  • Go on talking your incompatibilities; go on teaching your absurdities!

  • O that I had never brought together these unsuitabilities, these incompatibilities!

    Helen Maria Edgeworth
  • Many were the heartburnings, the incompatibilities of temperament, of the parts thus yoked together.

    Bizarre Lawton Mackall
  • To this day the difficulties of moral union are fed by the incompatibilities and the jealousies of "north" and "south."

    Rome Mildred Anna Rosalie Tuker
  • And upon a system comprising all these incompatibilities there was grafted the ruinous principle of ascendancy.

    The Framework of Home Rule Erskine Childers
  • The second of these incompatibilities is really predicated upon our ignorance, and not upon our knowledge.

    The Theistic Conception of the World B. F. (Benjamin Franklin) Cocker
  • He would hear of no incompatibilities, listen to no objections, believe in no obstacles.

British Dictionary definitions for incompatibilities


incapable of living or existing together in peace or harmony; conflicting or antagonistic
opposed in nature or quality; inconsistent
(of an office, position, etc) only able to be held by one person at a time
(med) (esp of two drugs or two types of blood) incapable of being combined or used together; antagonistic
(logic) (of two propositions) unable to be both true at the same time
(of plants)
  1. not capable of forming successful grafts
  2. incapable of fertilizing each other
(maths) another word for inconsistent (sense 4)
(often pl) a person or thing that is incompatible with another
Derived Forms
incompatibility, incompatibleness, noun
incompatibly, 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 incompatibilities



mid-15c., from Medieval Latin incompatibilis, from in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + compatibilis (see compatible). Originally of benefices, "incapable of being held together;" sense of "mutually intolerant" is from 1590s. Related: Incompatibly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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incompatibilities in Medicine

incompatible in·com·pat·i·ble (ĭn'kəm-pāt'ə-bəl)

  1. Incapable of associating or blending or of being associated or blended because of disharmony, incongruity, or antagonism.

  2. Producing an undesirable effect when used in combination with a particular substance, as a medicine in combination with alcohol.

  3. Not suitable for combination or administration because of immunological differences, as blood types.

in'com·pat·i·bil'i·ty (ĭn'kəm-pāt'ə-bĭl'ĭ-tē) n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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