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[in-el-i-guh nt] /ɪnˈɛl ɪ gənt/
not elegant; lacking in refinement, gracefulness, or good taste.
Origin of inelegant
First recorded in 1500-10, inelegant is from the Latin word inēlegant- (stem of inēlegāns). See in-3, elegant
Related forms
inelegantly, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for inelegant
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • “Convinced nothing,” was the inelegant reply of his new ward.

    The Treasure Trail Marah Ellis Ryan
  • The use of this word in the sense of determined is not only inelegant but indefensible.

    The Verbalist Thomas Embly Osmun, (AKA Alfred Ayres)
  • They were built of unhewn stone, but solid, and not inelegant.

  • It is often seen in pictures and portraits.403 It is inelegant and destitute of meaning.


    William Graham Sumner
  • His movements and carriage were not inelegant, but there was a certain retinue wanting.

    The Poacher Frederick Marryat
  • It was a most inelegant attitude, and peculiarly exasperating to Mrs. Caldwell.

    The Beth Book

    Sarah Grand
  • If inelegant expressions should be eschewed, what shall be said of profanity?

    Gospel Doctrine Joseph F. Smith
British Dictionary definitions for inelegant


lacking in elegance or refinement; unpolished or graceless
coarse or crude
Derived Forms
inelegance, inelegancy, noun
inelegantly, 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 inelegant

c.1500, from French inélégant (15c.), from Latin inelegantem (nominative inelegans) "not choice, without taste, without judgment," from in- "not" (see in- (1)) + elegans (see elegant). Related: Inelegantly; inelegance.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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