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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
1605-15; < Latin 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. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for incongruously
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • At this moment, the sound of voices and the crashing chords of a piano broke in incongruously upon their mood.

    The Woman Gives Owen Johnson
  • Barnes was incongruously named when he was given the name of Harry.

  • This is one of the many striking instances in which the past and the present are incongruously united in Rome.

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

    Space Platform Murray Leinster
  • As I passed close to one a faint clicking sounded, incongruously like the tapping of typewriter keys, but muffled.

    Where the World is Quiet Henry Kuttner
  • Then incongruously enough he smiled as he thought of the boy's breaking voice.

    Yule Logs Various
  • They finished the day incongruously by taking a taxi home, Fanny yawning luxuriously all the way.

    Fanny Herself Edna Ferber
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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