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Webster 1913 Edition


Absurd

Ab-surd′

(ăb-sûrd′)
,
Adj.
[L.
absurdus
harsh-sounding;
ab
+ (prob) a derivative fr. a root
svar
to sound; not connected with
surd
: cf. F.
absurde
. See
Syringe
.]
Contrary to reason or propriety; obviously and flatly opposed to manifest truth; inconsistent with the plain dictates of common sense; logically contradictory; nonsensical; ridiculous;
as, an
absurd
person, an
absurd
opinion; an
absurd
dream.
This proffer is
absurd
and reasonless.
Shakespeare
’This phrase
absurd
to call a villain great.
Pope.
p. 9
Syn. – Foolish; irrational; ridiculous; preposterous; inconsistent; incongruous.
Absurd
,
Irrational
,
Foolish
,
Preposterous
. Of these terms, irrational is the weakest, denoting that which is plainly inconsistent with the dictates of sound reason; as, an irrational course of life. Foolish rises higher, and implies either a perversion of that faculty, or an absolute weakness or fatuity of mind; as, foolish enterprises. Absurd rises still higher, denoting that which is plainly opposed to received notions of propriety and truth; as, an absurd man, project, opinion, story, argument, etc. Preposterous rises still higher, and supposes an absolute inversion in the order of things; or, in plain terms, a “putting of the cart before the horse;” as, a preposterous suggestion, preposterous conduct, a preposterous regulation or law.

Ab-surd′

(ăb-sûrd′)
,
Noun.
An absurdity.
[Obs.]
Pope.

Webster 1828 Edition


Absurd

ABSURD'

,
Adj.
[L. absurdus, from ab and surdus, deaf, insensible.] Opposed to manifest truth; inconsistent with reason or the plain dictates of common sense. An absurd man acts contrary to the clear dictates of reason or sound judgement. An absurd proposition contradicts obvious truth. An absurd practice or opinion is repugnant to the reason or common apprehension of men. It is absurd to say six and six make ten, or that plants will take root in stone.

Definition 2021


absurd

absurd

See also: absürd

English

Adjective

absurd (comparative absurder or more absurd, superlative absurdest or most absurd)

  1. Contrary to reason or propriety; obviously and flatly opposed to manifest truth; inconsistent with the plain dictates of common sense; logically contradictory; nonsensical; ridiculous; silly. [First attested in the mid 16th century.][3]
    • 1591, William Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part I, V-iv
      This proffer is absurd and reasonless.
    • ca. 1710, Alexander Pope
      This phrase absurd to call a villain great
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 17, in The Mirror and the Lamp:
      Perhaps it is because I have been excommunicated. It's absurd, but I feel like the Jackdaw of Rheims.”  She winced and bowed her head. Each time that he spoke flippantly of the Church he caused her pain.
  2. (obsolete) Inharmonious; dissonant. [Attested only in the early 17th century.][3]
  3. Having no rational or orderly relationship to people's lives; meaningless; lacking order or value.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Adults have condemned them to live in what must seem like an absurd universe. - Joseph Featherstone
  4. Dealing with absurdism.

Usage notes

  • More and most absurd are the preferred or more common form of the comparable, as opposed to absurder and absurdest.
  • Among the synonyms:
    • Irrational is the weakest, denoting that which is plainly inconsistent with the dictates of sound reason; as, an irrational course of life.
    • Foolish rises higher, and implies either a perversion of that faculty, or an absolute weakness or fatuity of mind; as, foolish enterprises.
    • Absurd rises still higher, denoting that which is plainly opposed to received notions of propriety and truth; as, an absurd man, project, opinion, story, argument, etc.
    • Preposterous rises still higher, and supposes an absolute inversion in the order of things; or, in plain terms, a "putting of the cart before the horse;" as, a preposterous suggestion, preposterous conduct, a preposterous regulation or law.

Synonyms

Derived terms

Translations

Noun

absurd (plural absurds)

  1. (obsolete) An absurdity. [Attested from the early 17th century until the mid 17th century.][3]
  2. (philosophy, often preceded by the) The opposition between the human search for meaning in life and the inability to find any; the state or condition in which man exists in an irrational universe and his life has no meaning outside of his existence. [First attested in English in the early 20th century and first used in the mid-19th century in Danish by Kierkegaard.][3][4]

Derived terms

  • theatre of the absurd

Translations

References

  1. Laurence Urdang (editor), The Random House College Dictionary (Random House, 1984 [1975], ISBN 0-394-43600-8), page 7
  2. Philip Babcock Gove (editor), Webster's Third International Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged (G. & C. Merriam Co., 1976 [1909], ISBN 0-87779-101-5), page 8
  3. 1 2 3 4 Lesley Brown, editor (1933) The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, 5th edition, Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-860575-7, published 2003, page 10
  4. "Søren Kierkegaard" in The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Catalan

Etymology

Borrowed from Latin absurdus.

Adjective

absurd m (feminine absurda, masculine plural absurds, feminine plural absurdes)

  1. absurd

Derived terms

Noun

absurd m (plural absurds)

  1. absurdity

Danish

Etymology

Borrowed from Latin absurdus (discordant, unreasonable).

Pronunciation

  • IPA(key): /absurd/, [ɑbˈsuɐ̯ˀd̥]

Adjective

absurd (neuter absurd, e-form absurde)

  1. absurd

Adverb

absurd

  1. absurdly

Derived terms


German

Etymology

Borrowed from Latin absurdus.

Pronunciation

Adjective

absurd (comparative absurder, superlative am absurdesten)

  1. absurd

Declension


Luxembourgish

Etymology

Borrowed from Latin absurdus.

Adjective

absurd (masculine absurden, neuter absurd, comparative méi absurd, superlative am absurdsten)

  1. absurd

Declension

Related terms


Norwegian Bokmål

Etymology

From Latin absurdus

Adjective

absurd (neuter singular absurd, definite singular and plural absurde)

  1. absurd

Related terms

References


Norwegian Nynorsk

Etymology

From Latin absurdus

Adjective

absurd (neuter singular absurd, definite singular and plural absurde)

  1. absurd

Related terms

References


Polish

Etymology

Borrowing from Latin absurdus.

Pronunciation

  • IPA(key): /ˈap.surt/

Noun

absurd m inan

  1. nonsense
    Jego propozycje to jeden wielki absurd.
    His suggestions are one big load of nonsense.

Declension

Derived terms


Romanian

Etymology

Borrowing from French absurde, Latin absurdus.

Pronunciation

  • IPA(key): /abˈsurd/

Adjective

absurd m, n (feminine singular absurdă, masculine plural absurzi, feminine and neuter plural absurde)

  1. absurd

Declension


Swedish

Etymology

Borrowed from Latin absurdus.

Adjective

absurd

  1. absurd

Declension

Inflection of absurd
Indefinite/attributive Positive Comparative Superlative2
Common singular absurd absurdare absurdast
Neuter singular absurt absurdare absurdast
Plural absurda absurdare absurdast
Definite Positive Comparative Superlative
Masculine singular1 absurde absurdare absurdaste
All absurda absurdare absurdaste
1) Only used, optionally, to refer to things whose natural gender is masculine.
2) The indefinite superlative forms are only used in an attributive role.

Related terms