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First attested around 1472. From Middle English absurdite,[1] then from either Middle French absurdité, or from Late Latin absurditas ‎(dissonance, incongruity), from Latin absurdus +‎ -itas ‎(quality, state, degree).[2][3] Equivalent to absurd +‎ -ity.



absurdity ‎(countable and uncountable, plural absurdities)

  1. (obsolete, rare) Dissonance. [Attested from around 1350 to 1470 until the late 17th century.][3]
  2. (countable) That which is absurd; an absurd action; a logical contradiction. [First attested in the late 15th century.][3]
    • His travels were full of absurdities. - Johnson
  3. (uncountable) The quality of being absurd or inconsistent with obvious truth, reason, or sound judgment. [First attested in the early 16th century.][3]
    • The absurdity of the actual idea of an infinite number. - John Locke
    • 1992, Rudolf M. Schuster, The Hepaticae and Anthocerotae of North America: East of the Hundredth Meridian, volume V, page viii
      Neither [Jones] [] nor I (in 1966) could conceive of reducing our "science" to the ultimate absurdity of reading Finnish newspapers almost a century and a half old in order to establish "priority."


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  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. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Lesley Brown (editor), The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, 5th edition (Oxford University Press, 2003 [1933], ISBN 978-0-19-860575-7), page 10