[ih-nok-yoo-uh s]


not harmful or injurious; harmless: an innocuous home remedy.
not likely to irritate or offend; inoffensive; an innocuous remark.
not interesting, stimulating, or significant; pallid; insipid: an innocuous novel.

Origin of innocuous

From the Latin word innocuus, dating back to 1590–1600. See in-3, nocuous
Related formsin·noc·u·ous·ly, adverbin·noc·u·ous·ness, in·no·cu·i·ty [in-uh-kyoo-i-tee] /ˌɪn əˈkyu ɪ ti/, nounun·in·noc·u·ous, adjectiveun·in·noc·u·ous·ly, adverbun·in·noc·u·ous·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for innocuously

innocently, kindly, politely

Examples from the Web for innocuously

Contemporary Examples of innocuously

Historical Examples of innocuously

  • Pistols might have been innocuously discharged for all that was known to the contrary.

    Miss Mapp

    Edward Frederic Benson

  • Therefore I take it away as innocuously as possible, and touch his soft pompadour, in passing, with a reverent hand.

  • It could start as innocuously as a businessman planning a more effective advertising campaign.

    The Sensitive Man

    Poul William Anderson

  • At that advanced time of life, too, a few occasional irregularities in the field may be innocuously permitted.

    Dog Breaking

    William Nelson Hutchinson

  • Where you find sin, go ahead and denounce it mercilessly; but do it crisply, cuttingly, not dully and innocuously.

    The Young Man and the World

    Albert J. Beveridge

British Dictionary definitions for innocuously



having little or no adverse or harmful effect; harmless
Derived Formsinnocuously, adverbinnocuousness or innocuity (ˌɪnəˈkjuːɪtɪ), noun

Word Origin for innocuous

C16: from Latin innocuus harmless, from in- 1 + nocēre to harm
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 innocuously



1590s, from Latin innocuus "harmless," from in- "not" (see in- (1)) + nocuus "hurtful," from root of nocere "to injure, harm," from *nok-s-, suffixed form of PIE root *nek- "death" (see necro-). Related: Innocuously; innocuousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

innocuously in Medicine




Having no adverse effect; harmless.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.