V2 Vocabulary Building Dictionary



Definition: 1. not able to cause harm; 2. not likely to cause a strong emotion

Synonyms: harmless, inoffensive, painless, safe, gentle, unobjectionable

Antonyms: harmful, adverse, deadly, toxic, unsafe, arousing

Tips: Innocuous is derived from the Latin innocuus, from in-, “not,” with nocuus, “hurtful.” Something innocuous is "not hurtful," or is "harmless." Think of the related word noxious (physically harmful), which comes from the same Latin root, noccus. By adding the negative in-, "not," innocuous carries the meaning of "something not harmful." If you eat something innocuous it will NOT (in = not) cause you to be noxious because it is harmless and not hurtful.

Usage Examples:

The berries looked fairly innocuous, but they made everyone who ate them sick. (safe, harmless)

Snakes may all look dangerous, but most are completely innocuous. (harmless)

Even though she thought her comment was perfectly innocuous, the rest of the team took offense to it. (inoffensive, unobjectionable)

The idea was innocuous, and although no one was terribly excited about it, we thought it wouldn't hurt to give it a try. (safe, unobjectionable)

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