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[pri-pos-ter-uh s, -truh s] /prɪˈpɒs tər əs, -trəs/
completely contrary to nature, reason, or common sense; absurd; senseless; utterly foolish:
a preposterous tale.
Origin of preposterous
First recorded in 1535-45, preposterous is from the Latin word praeposterus with the hinder part foremost. See pre-, posterior, -ous
Related forms
preposterously, adverb
preposterousness, noun
unpreposterous, adjective
unpreposterously, adverb
unpreposterousness, noun
unreasonable, excessive, ridiculous.
Synonym Study
See absurd. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for preposterously
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Very often, too, the conceit embodied is preposterously poor.

    Views and Reviews William Ernest Henley
  • In filling up some of the gaps he might have been preposterously wrong.

    The Grell Mystery Frank Froest
  • Well, that doesn't seem so preposterously difficult does it?

    Touch and Go D. H. Lawrence
  • I love rubies, and this is a beauty, and not preposterously big.

    The Diva's Ruby F. Marion Crawford
  • Then for your means to advancement, there it is simple, and not preposterously mixed.

  • As a matter of course, the vessels are preposterously overcrowded.

    Dr. Grenfell's Parish Norman Duncan
British Dictionary definitions for preposterously


contrary to nature, reason, or sense; absurd; ridiculous
Derived Forms
preposterously, adverb
preposterousness, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin praeposterus reversed, from prae in front, before + posterus following
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 preposterously



1540s, from Latin praeposterus "absurd, contrary to nature, inverted, perverted, in reverse order," literally "before-behind" (cf. topsy-turvy, cart before the horse), from prae "before" + posterus "subsequent." Related: Preposterously; preposterousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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