[pri-pos-ter-uhs, -truhs]
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Origin of preposterous

First recorded in 1535–45, preposterous is from the Latin word praeposterus with the hinder part foremost. See pre-, posterior, -ous
Related formspre·pos·ter·ous·ly, adverbpre·pos·ter·ous·ness, nounun·pre·pos·ter·ous, adjectiveun·pre·pos·ter·ous·ly, adverbun·pre·pos·ter·ous·ness, noun

Synonyms for preposterous

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Synonym study

See absurd. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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Contemporary Examples of preposterous

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British Dictionary definitions for preposterous


  1. contrary to nature, reason, or sense; absurd; ridiculous
Derived Formspreposterously, adverbpreposterousness, noun

Word Origin for preposterous

C16: from Latin praeposterus reversed, from prae in front, before + posterus following
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 preposterous

1540s, from Latin praeposterus "absurd, contrary to nature, inverted, perverted, in reverse order," literally "before-behind" (cf. topsy-turvy, cart before the horse), from prae "before" + posterus "subsequent." Related: Preposterously; preposterousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper