SKIP TO CONTENT

incongruous

Something that's incongruous is inconsistent or incompatible with something else. Remember that Sesame Street song "One of these things is not like the other"? They were talking about that one thing being incongruous.

If we break it down into its Latin roots, incongruous is formed by adding in, meaning “not," to congruous, which means “suitable, proper.” So, something that is incongruous is "not suitable or proper" — in other words, not in harmony with everything else. That's why burping at the dinner table could be called incongruous behavior: it's not proper and certainly doesn't go well with the main course.

Definitions of incongruous
  1. adjective
    lacking in harmony or compatibility or appropriateness
    “a plan incongruous with reason”
    incongruous behavior”
    “a joke that was incongruous with polite conversation”
    Synonyms:
    discrepant, inconsistent
    not in agreement
    inappropriate, incompatible, out of keeping, unfitting
    not in keeping with what is correct or proper
    inharmonious
    lacking in harmony of parts
    ironic, ironical
    characterized by often poignant difference or incongruity between what is expected and what actually is
    see moresee less
    Antonyms:
    congruent, congruous
    corresponding in character or kind
    appropriate
    suitable for a particular person, place, condition, etc.
    harmonious
    suitable and fitting
    show more antonyms...
Word Family
EDITOR’S CHOICE

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by Vocabulary.com’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.

SAT/PSAT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

TOEFL

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

ACT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week