lacking in harmony between the different parts or elements; self-contradictory: an inconsistent story.
lacking agreement, as one thing with another or two or more things in relation to each other; at variance: a summary that is inconsistent with the previously stated facts.
not consistent in principles, conduct, etc.: He's so inconsistent we never know if he'll be kind or cruel.
acting at variance with professed principles.

Origin of inconsistent

First recorded in 1640–50; in-3 + consistent
Related formsin·con·sist·ent·ly, adverb
Can be confusedincontinent inconsistent (see synonym study at the current entry)

Synonyms for inconsistent

1. incoherent. 2. discrepant, disagreeing, irreconcilable. Inconsistent, incompatible, incongruous refer to things that are out of keeping with each other. That which is inconsistent involves variance, discrepancy, or even contradiction, especially from the point of view of truth, reason, or logic: His actions are inconsistent with his statements. Incompatible implies incapability of close association or harmonious relationship, as from differences of nature, character, temperament, and the like: actions incompatible with honesty of purpose; qualities that make two people incompatible. Something that is incongruous is inappropriate or out of keeping, often to the point of being ridiculous or absurd: Incongruous characters or situations frequently provide a basis for comedy. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for inconsistent

Contemporary Examples of inconsistent

Historical Examples of inconsistent

  • Neither is politeness at all inconsistent with thorough familiarity.

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • By an inconsistent twist of fate he was known as Honest John.


    W. A. Fraser

  • Real philanthropy is as inconsistent with exploitation as with cannibalism.


    Theodor Hertzka

  • But this beautiful and—shall I say it—inconsistent woman repelled me.

  • Women retain rights which are inconsistent with father-rule.

    The Truth About Woman

    C. Gasquoine Hartley

British Dictionary definitions for inconsistent



lacking in consistency, agreement, or compatibility; at variance
containing contradictory elements
irregular or fickle in behaviour or mood
Also: incompatible maths (of two or more equations) not having one common set of values of the variables: x + 2 y = 5 and x + 2 y = 6 are inconsistent
logic (of a set of propositions) enabling an explicit contradiction to be validly derived
Derived Formsinconsistently, 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 inconsistent

1640s, "not agreeing in substance or form," from in- (1) "not, opposite of" + consistent. Related: Inconsistently.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper