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[ih-nok-yoo-uh s] /ɪˈnɒk yu əs/
not harmful or injurious; harmless:
an innocuous home remedy.
not likely to irritate or offend; inoffensive; an innocuous remark.
not interesting, stimulating, or significant; pallid; insipid:
an innocuous novel.
Origin of innocuous
From the Latin word innocuus, dating back to 1590-1600. See in-3, nocuous
Related forms
innocuously, adverb
innocuousness, innocuity
[in-uh-kyoo-i-tee] /ˌɪn əˈkyu ɪ ti/ (Show IPA),
uninnocuous, adjective
uninnocuously, adverb
uninnocuousness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for innocuously
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It could start as innocuously as a businessman planning a more effective advertising campaign.

    The Sensitive Man Poul William Anderson
  • There is no other occupation in which one may wander so innocuously.

    The Book-Hunter at Home P. B. M. Allan
  • Pistols might have been innocuously discharged for all that was known to the contrary.

    Miss Mapp Edward Frederic Benson
  • Therefore I take it away as innocuously as possible, and touch his soft pompadour, in passing, with a reverent hand.

    Life's Minor Collisions Frances Warner
  • Where you find sin, go ahead and denounce it mercilessly; but do it crisply, cuttingly, not dully and innocuously.

    The Young Man and the World Albert J. Beveridge
  • At that advanced time of life, too, a few occasional irregularities in the field may be innocuously permitted.

    Dog Breaking William Nelson Hutchinson
British Dictionary definitions for innocuously


having little or no adverse or harmful effect; harmless
Derived Forms
innocuously, adverb
innocuousness, innocuity (ˌɪnəˈkjuːɪtɪ) noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin innocuus harmless, from in-1 + nocēre to harm
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 innocuously

Italian for mixed green salad

Usage Note

cooking's 21st Century Lexicon
Copyright © 2003-2014, LLC
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Word Origin and History for innocuously



1590s, from Latin innocuus "harmless," from in- "not" (see in- (1)) + nocuus "hurtful," from root of nocere "to injure, harm," from *nok-s-, suffixed form of PIE root *nek- "death" (see necro-). Related: Innocuously; innocuousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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innocuously in Medicine

innocuous in·noc·u·ous (ĭ-nŏk'yōō-əs)
Having no adverse effect; harmless.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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