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See more synonyms for incongruous on Thesaurus.com
  1. out of keeping or place; inappropriate; unbecoming: an incongruous effect; incongruous behavior.
  2. not harmonious in character; inconsonant; lacking harmony of parts: an incongruous mixture of architectural styles.
  3. inconsistent: actions that were incongruous with their professed principles.
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Origin of incongruous

First recorded in 1605–15, incongruous is from the Latin word incongruus inconsistent. See in-3, congruous
Related formsin·con·gru·ous·ly, adverbin·con·gru·ous·ness, noun
Can be confusedcongruous congruent incongruous incongruent


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Examples from the Web for incongruous

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • The subscribers to the opera would see little in it that was incongruous.


    Edward J. Dent

  • It had for its incongruous lid a door that had been lifted from its hinges.

  • The silliness of the situation burned her sense of the incongruous.


    James Huneker

  • Others are a marvel of ingenious and incongruous combination.

    Italy, the Magic Land

    Lilian Whiting

  • It was as if there could be no end of his discoveries about that girl, at the most incongruous moments.


    Joseph Conrad

British Dictionary definitions for incongruous



  1. (when postpositive, foll by with or to) incompatible with (what is suitable); inappropriate
  2. containing disparate or discordant elements or parts
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Derived Formsincongruously or incongruently, adverbincongruousness or incongruence, noun
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 incongruous


1610s, from Latin incongruus "incongruous," from in- "not, opposite of, without" (see in- (1)) + congruus "fit, suitable" (see congruent). Related: Incongruously.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper