[ in-kuhn-sis-tuhnt ]
See synonyms for: inconsistentinconsistently on

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

  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.

  1. not consistent in principles, conduct, etc.: He's so inconsistent we never know if he'll be kind or cruel.

  2. acting at variance with professed principles.

Origin of inconsistent

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

synonym study For inconsistent

2. 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.

Other words for inconsistent

Other words from inconsistent

  • in·con·sist·ent·ly, adverb

Words that may be confused with inconsistent Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use inconsistent in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for inconsistent


/ (ˌɪnkənˈsɪstənt) /

  1. lacking in consistency, agreement, or compatibility; at variance

  2. containing contradictory elements

  1. irregular or fickle in behaviour or mood

  2. 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

  3. logic (of a set of propositions) enabling an explicit contradiction to be validly derived

Derived forms of inconsistent

  • inconsistently, 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