[pri-pos-ter-uhs, -truhs]


completely contrary to nature, reason, or common sense; absurd; senseless; utterly foolish: a preposterous tale.

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

Synonym study

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

Examples from the Web for preposterously

Contemporary Examples of preposterously

Historical Examples of preposterously

  • Very often, too, the conceit embodied is preposterously poor.

    Views and Reviews

    William Ernest Henley

  • In filling up some of the gaps he might have been preposterously wrong.

    The Grell Mystery

    Frank Froest

  • Well, that doesn't seem so preposterously difficult does it?

    Touch and Go

    D. H. Lawrence

  • I love rubies, and this is a beauty, and not preposterously big.

    The Diva's Ruby

    F. Marion Crawford

  • Then for your means to advancement, there it is simple, and not preposterously mixed.

British Dictionary definitions for preposterously



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 preposterously



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