(letters – 12| syllables – 4 )
- |adj.| incongruous, inviting ridicule
- |adj.| Very silly or stupid
- |adj.| Completely unreasonable and ridiculous, not to be believed.
- |adjective|contrary to nature, reason, or common sense
- |adj.| with the hinder part first. before reversed, inverted, perverted.
- |adj.| Having that first which ought to be last; inverted in order. [Obs.]
- |adj.| Contrary to nature or reason; not adapted to the end; utterly and glaringly foolish; unreasonably absurd; perverted.
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
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.