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[in-kong-groo-uh s] /ɪnˈkɒŋ gru əs/
out of keeping or place; inappropriate; unbecoming:
an incongruous effect; incongruous behavior.
not harmonious in character; inconsonant; lacking harmony of parts:
an incongruous mixture of architectural styles.
actions that were incongruous with their professed principles.
Origin of incongruous
First recorded in 1605-15, incongruous is from the Latin word incongruus inconsistent. See in-3, congruous
Related forms
incongruously, adverb
incongruousness, noun
Can be confused
congruous, congruent, incongruous, incongruent.
1. discrepant, unsuitable, ridiculous, ludicrous, absurd. 2. inharmonious, discordant. 3. contrary, contradictory. See inconsistent.
1. becoming, appropriate. 2. consonant. 3. consistent. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for incongruous
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The subscribers to the opera would see little in it that was incongruous.

    Handel Edward J. Dent
  • It had for its incongruous lid a door that had been lifted from its hinges.

  • The silliness of the situation burned her sense of the incongruous.

    Melomaniacs James Huneker
  • Others are a marvel of ingenious and incongruous combination.

    Italy, the Magic Land Lilian Whiting
  • It was as if there could be no end of his discoveries about that girl, at the most incongruous moments.

    Victory Joseph Conrad
British Dictionary definitions for incongruous


when postpositive, foll by with or to. incompatible with (what is suitable); inappropriate
containing disparate or discordant elements or parts
Derived Forms
incongruously, incongruently, adverb
incongruousness, incongruence, noun
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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Contemporary definitions for incongruous

characterized by inconsistency

Word Origin

Latin in- + congruere 'to come together''s 21st Century Lexicon
Copyright © 2003-2014, LLC
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Word Origin and History for incongruous

1610s, from Latin incongruus "incongruous," from in- "not, opposite of, without" (see in- (1)) + congruus "fit, suitable" (see congruent). Related: Incongruously.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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