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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for innocuously
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • 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
  • It could start as innocuously as a businessman planning a more effective advertising campaign.

    The Sensitive Man Poul William Anderson
  • At that advanced time of life, too, a few occasional irregularities in the field may be innocuously permitted.

    Dog Breaking William Nelson Hutchinson
  • 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
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

unlikely to arouse strong feeling; insipid

Word Origin

Latin in- + nocere 'to injure''s 21st Century Lexicon
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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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