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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for incongruously
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Barnes was incongruously named when he was given the name of Harry.

  • For an instant, in mid-air, Joe was incongruously aware of all the noises in the Shed.

    Space Platform Murray Leinster
  • Then incongruously enough he smiled as he thought of the boy's breaking voice.

    Yule Logs Various
  • Talleyrand claims, not incongruously, that he acted in Napoleons true interest.

    Talleyrand Joseph McCabe
  • She looked up with an expression that struck him as incongruously triumphant.

    The Builders Ellen Glasgow
  • She was at once and incongruously not sleepy and thoughtless.

    Joan Thursday

    Louis Joseph Vance
  • incongruously, the thought crossed his mind that he'd hate to have this woman against him.

    Bear Trap Alan Edward Nourse
British Dictionary definitions for incongruously


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 incongruously

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 incongruously



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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