[ab-surd, -zurd]


utterly or obviously senseless, illogical, or untrue; contrary to all reason or common sense; laughably foolish or false: an absurd explanation.


the quality or condition of existing in a meaningless and irrational world.

Origin of absurd

First recorded in 1550–60, absurd is from the Latin word absurdus out of tune, uncouth, ridiculous. See ab-, surd
Related formsab·surd·ly, adverbab·surd·ness, nounsu·per·ab·surd, adjectivesu·per·ab·surd·ly, adverbsu·per·ab·surd·ness, noun

Synonyms for absurd

Synonym study

1. Absurd, ridiculous, preposterous all mean inconsistent with reason or common sense. Absurd means utterly opposed to truth or reason: an absurd claim. Ridiculous implies that something is fit only to be laughed at, perhaps contemptuously: a ridiculous suggestion. Preposterous implies an extreme of foolishness: a preposterous proposal.

Antonyms for absurd

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for absurd

Contemporary Examples of absurd

Historical Examples of absurd

  • The other idea was absurd—too wild for serious consideration.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Thinking back, he felt that it was all absurd and dreamlike.

  • She did not like the things at all, for no one could be certain what absurd thing he might not do.

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • She had almost thought that was the name of the feeling, only it had seemed so absurd.

  • She told herself that it was absurd to do so; none the less she did it.

British Dictionary definitions for absurd



at variance with reason; manifestly false
ludicrous; ridiculous


the absurd (sometimes capital) philosophy the conception of the world, esp in Existentialist thought, as neither designed nor predictable but irrational and meaningless
Derived Formsabsurdity or absurdness, nounabsurdly, adverb

Word Origin for absurd

C16: via French from Latin absurdus dissonant, senseless, from ab- 1 (intensive) + surdus dull-sounding, indistinct
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

Word Origin and History for absurd

1550s, from Middle French absurde (16c.), from Latin absurdus "out of tune; foolish" (see absurdity). The main modern sense (also present in Latin) is a figurative one, "out of harmony with reason or propriety." Related: Absurdly; absurdness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper