View synonyms for inconsistent


[ in-kuhn-sis-tuhnt ]


  1. lacking in harmony between the different parts or elements; self-contradictory:

    an inconsistent story.

    Synonyms: incoherent

  2. 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.

    Synonyms: irreconcilable, discrepant

  3. not consistent in principles, conduct, etc.:

    He's so inconsistent we never know if he'll be kind or cruel.

  4. acting at variance with professed principles.


/ ˌɪnkənˈsɪstənt /


  1. lacking in consistency, agreement, or compatibility; at variance
  2. containing contradictory elements
  3. irregular or fickle in behaviour or mood
  4. Alsoincompatible 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
  5. logic (of a set of propositions) enabling an explicit contradiction to be validly derived

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Derived Forms

  • ˌinconˈsistently, adverb

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Other Words From

  • incon·sistent·ly adverb

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Word History and Origins

Origin of inconsistent1

First recorded in 1640–50; in- 3 + consistent

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Synonym Study

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.

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Example Sentences

An AI hiring tool could satisfy that requirement and still be wildly inconsistent at predicting how well people from different groups actually succeed in the job once they’re hired.

The variability of the data and inconsistent analyses concerned the researchers, who recommend more standardization, stronger analytical approaches and an attempt to collect more information in smaller geographic areas.

Testing and reporting were so scarce and inconsistent that it distorted the numbers that researchers obtained.

The government’s public health messaging was inconsistent, it lost the public’s trust through a series of scandals and policy U-turns, and more recently, it failed to take decisive measures during the Christmas period.

From Time

Compounding the problem, local leaders have repeatedly complained about inconsistent vaccine supplies.

The Kim-in-command view, however, seems inconsistent with recent developments.

In response, voters thought voting for Madison was inconsistent with their thirst for free booze.

The burden on plaintiffs in wrongful birth cases “is unique, and is inconsistent with other types of malpractice cases,” she said.

As in any other area of law, though, such a belief is not inconsistent with a belief that people may be unjustly accused.

Instead, if the people you support are committing acts inconsistent with your own sense of morality, then you should speak out.

Inconsistent hyphenation and inconsistent use of -ise and -ize spellings have been left as in the original.

Monotheism is strictly inconsistent with the supremacy of “merits” which is the very soul of Oriental religion.

Their obstreperous loyalty might seem inconsistent with this unideal character, but it is only seeming.

In what respect has the subsequent conduct of Sir Robert Peel been inconsistent with these declarations?

Spacing after punctuation standardized, inconsistent hyphenation and archaic spelling retained.