V2 Vocabulary Building Dictionary



Definition: 1. out of place and not suitable for the occasion; 2. not consistent with something else; 3. not blending well together

Synonyms: unsuitable, inappropriate, inconsistent, inharmonious, incompatible, conflicting, discordant

Antonyms: congruous, suitable, fitting, harmonious

Tips: Think of the root word congruous, which means appropriate, suitable or consistent. Additng the negative in-, "not," creates incongruous which means "not appropriate (or inappropriate,) not suitable (or unsuitable,) not consistent (or inconsistent.)" The most common uses of incongruous occur in the formulations "incongruous with something" and "incongruous to something." You can have an incongruous remark that is inappropriate or not consistent with the flow of a discussion. You can have an incongruous action that is not fit for the occasion or circumstance. You can also have an incongruous element that seems out of place with its surroundings. Also, see the related root word congruent, which means "in agreement" or "consistent." For a memory trick, note how incongruous sounds like "in congress." Now imagine someone "in congress" speaking on CSPAN and something incongruous comes into the picture, like an animal or a nude person. That would be very incongruous (incompatible, inharmonious, disagreeable, and unsuitable) for something you would normally see "in Congress."

Usage Examples:

To some, it seemed incongruous to call a funeral a "celebration," but Edith's children believed she was somewhere better and wanted to be happy for her. (inappropriate, unsuitable)

Even though sun visors seem incongruous with rainy days, Shelly found that her visor kept water off her face when it was raining, so she wore it during stormy weather. (incompatible)

The new, sleek computer looked incongruous on the antique desk. (inconsistent, inharmonious)

It seems incongruous to have an out-of-shape and overweight editor of a fitness magazine. (inconsistent, inharmonious)

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