#46. Preposterous:

(letters – 12| syllables – 4 )

  1. |adj.| incongruous, inviting ridicule

(Wolfram Alpha)

  1. |adj.| Very silly or stupid
  2. |adj.| Completely unreasonable and ridiculous, not to be believed.

(Cambridge Dictionary)

  1. |adjective|contrary to nature, reason, or common sense


  1. |adj.| with the hinder part first. before reversed, inverted, perverted.

(Century Dictionary 1911)

  1. |adj.| Having that first which ought to be last; inverted in order. [Obs.]
  2. |adj.| Contrary to nature or reason; not adapted to the end; utterly and glaringly foolish; unreasonably absurd; perverted.

(Websters revised unabridged 1913)

Origin and Etymology of preposterous:

1540s, from Latin praeposterus “absurd, contrary to nature, inverted, perverted, in reverse order,” literally “before-behind” (compare topsy-turvy, cart before the horse), from prae “before” + posterus “subsequent.” Related: Preposterously; preposterousness

Bloggers Note:

Preposterous is of interest to me because it combines two Latin prefixes pre-, and post-.  I can’t help but consider their meaning when evaluating the term’s subtext.  Research brought clarity and I now see that the meaning has indeed evolved from the once staid ‘out of order’ context implied by the Latin, to the ‘silly’ definition applied to it today. Pun intended.

Incidentally, I found Wolfram’s defintion the most notable, largely because of its open-ness. In fact wolfram’s definition one might safely allow ‘preposterous’ use without intending offense, but instead perhaps intending complimentary sentiments depending upon circumstance. Such a turn would have be un-allowable by the callous definitions of mainstream dictionaries  that followed. 

Just in case:

Incongruous: not in harmony or keeping with the surroundings or other aspects of something.


About Justin Arn

Part-time Bartender. Full Time Learner. Currently exploring the mystery and wonder of life while coding, reading, and hiking.
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