Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[in-kuh n-sis-tuh nt] /ˌɪn kənˈsɪs tənt/
lacking in harmony between the different parts or elements; self-contradictory:
an inconsistent story.
lacking agreement, as one thing with another or two or more things in relation to each other; at variance:
a summary that is inconsistent with the previously stated facts.
not consistent in principles, conduct, etc.:
He's so inconsistent we never know if he'll be kind or cruel.
acting at variance with professed principles.
Logic. incompatible (def 4b).
Origin of inconsistent
First recorded in 1640-50; in-3 + consistent
Related forms
inconsistently, adverb
Can be confused
incontinent, inconsistent (see synonym study at the current entry)
1. incoherent. 2. discrepant, disagreeing, irreconcilable. Inconsistent, incompatible, incongruous refer to things that are out of keeping with each other. That which is inconsistent involves variance, discrepancy, or even contradiction, especially from the point of view of truth, reason, or logic: His actions are inconsistent with his statements. Incompatible implies incapability of close association or harmonious relationship, as from differences of nature, character, temperament, and the like: actions incompatible with honesty of purpose; qualities that make two people incompatible. Something that is incongruous is inappropriate or out of keeping, often to the point of being ridiculous or absurd: Incongruous characters or situations frequently provide a basis for comedy. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for inconsistent
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Neither is politeness at all inconsistent with thorough familiarity.

    Weighed and Wanting George MacDonald
  • By an inconsistent twist of fate he was known as Honest John.

    Thoroughbreds W. A. Fraser
  • Real philanthropy is as inconsistent with exploitation as with cannibalism.

    Freeland Theodor Hertzka
  • But this beautiful and—shall I say it—inconsistent woman repelled me.

    The Room in the Dragon Volant J. Sheridan LeFanu
  • Women retain rights which are inconsistent with father-rule.

    The Truth About Woman C. Gasquoine Hartley
British Dictionary definitions for inconsistent


lacking in consistency, agreement, or compatibility; at variance
containing contradictory elements
irregular or fickle in behaviour or mood
(maths) Also incompatible. (of two or more equations) not having one common set of values of the variables: x + 2y = 5 and x + 2y = 6 are inconsistent
(logic) (of a set of propositions) enabling an explicit contradiction to be validly derived
Derived Forms
inconsistently, 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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for inconsistent

1640s, "not agreeing in substance or form," from in- (1) "not, opposite of" + consistent. Related: Inconsistently.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for inconsistent

Word Value for inconsistent

Scrabble Words With Friends