Origin of incompatible

From the Medieval Latin word incompatibilis, dating back to 1555–65. See in-3, compatible
Related formsin·com·pat·i·bil·i·ty, in·com·pat·i·ble·ness, nounin·com·pat·i·bly, adverb

Synonyms for incompatible

1. unsuitable, unsuited. See inconsistent. 1, 2. inharmonious. 2. contradictory. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for incompatibility

animosity, disagreement, opposition, conflict, discordance

Examples from the Web for incompatibility

Contemporary Examples of incompatibility

Historical Examples of incompatibility

  • Incompossibility, it will be seen, is only incompatibility let loose.

  • The word "incompatibility" had not come into wide-spread use.


    Edna Ferber

  • The ethnologist sees in it the incompatibility of Celt and Saxon.

  • "Separated for incompatibility of temper; that was all," said Mrs. Brand coolly.

    A True Friend

    Adeline Sergeant

  • Generally, however, as this incompatibility is accepted, it is not unchallenged.

British Dictionary definitions for incompatibility



incapable of living or existing together in peace or harmony; conflicting or antagonistic
opposed in nature or quality; inconsistent
(of an office, position, etc) only able to be held by one person at a time
med (esp of two drugs or two types of blood) incapable of being combined or used together; antagonistic
logic (of two propositions) unable to be both true at the same time
(of plants)
  1. not capable of forming successful grafts
  2. incapable of fertilizing each other
maths another word for inconsistent (def. 4)


(often plural) a person or thing that is incompatible with another
Derived Formsincompatibility or incompatibleness, nounincompatibly, 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

Word Origin and History for incompatibility

1610s; see incompatible + -ity.



mid-15c., from Medieval Latin incompatibilis, from in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + compatibilis (see compatible). Originally of benefices, "incapable of being held together;" sense of "mutually intolerant" is from 1590s. Related: Incompatibly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

incompatibility in Medicine




Incapable of associating or blending or of being associated or blended because of disharmony, incongruity, or antagonism.
Producing an undesirable effect when used in combination with a particular substance, as a medicine in combination with alcohol.
Not suitable for combination or administration because of immunological differences, as blood types.
Related formsin′com•pat•i•bili•ty (ĭn′kəm-păt′ə-bĭlĭ-tē) n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.