[in-el-i-guh nt]


not elegant; lacking in refinement, gracefulness, or good taste.

Origin of inelegant

First recorded in 1500–10, inelegant is from the Latin word inēlegant- (stem of inēlegāns). See in-3, elegant
Related formsin·el·e·gant·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for inelegant

Contemporary Examples of inelegant

Historical Examples of inelegant

  • “Convinced nothing,” was the inelegant reply of his new ward.

    The Treasure Trail

    Marah Ellis Ryan

  • The use of this word in the sense of determined is not only inelegant but indefensible.

    The Verbalist

    Thomas Embly Osmun, (AKA Alfred Ayres)

  • They were built of unhewn stone, but solid, and not inelegant.

  • It is often seen in pictures and portraits.403 It is inelegant and destitute of meaning.


    William Graham Sumner

  • His movements and carriage were not inelegant, but there was a certain retinue wanting.

    The Poacher

    Frederick Marryat

British Dictionary definitions for inelegant



lacking in elegance or refinement; unpolished or graceless
coarse or crude
Derived Formsinelegance or inelegancy, nouninelegantly, 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 inelegant

c.1500, from French inélégant (15c.), from Latin inelegantem (nominative inelegans) "not choice, without taste, without judgment," from in- "not" (see in- (1)) + elegans (see elegant). Related: Inelegantly; inelegance.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper