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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.


  • (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /əbˈsɜːd.ɪ.ti/
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  • (US) IPA(key): /æbˈsɝd.ɪ.ti/, /æbˈzɝd.ɪ.ti/, /əbˈsɝd.ɪ.ti/, /əbˈzɝd.ɪ.ti/


absurdity (countable and uncountable, plural absurdities)

  1. (countable) That which is absurd; an absurd action; a logical contradiction. [First attested in the late 15th century.][3]
  2. (uncountable) The quality of being absurd or inconsistent with obvious truth, reason, or sound judgment. [First attested in the early 16th century.][3]
    • 1689 (indicated as 1690), [John Locke], An Essay Concerning Humane Understanding. [], London: [] Eliz[abeth] Holt, for Thomas Basset, [], OCLC 153628242:
      The absurdity of the actual idea of an infinite number
    • 1992, Rudolf M[athias] Schuster, The Hepaticae and Anthocerotae of North America: East of the Hundredth Meridian, volume V, New York, N.Y.: Columbia University Press, →ISBN, 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."
  3. (obsolete, rare) Dissonance. [Attested from around 1350 to 1470 until the late 17th century.][3]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


  1. ^ Laurence Urdang (editor), The Random House College Dictionary (Random House, 1984 [1975], →ISBN), page 7
  2. ^ Philip Babcock Gove (editor), Webster's Third International Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged (G. & C. Merriam Co., 1976 [1909], →ISBN), page 8
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Lesley Brown, editor-in-chief; William R. Trumble and Angus Stevenson, editors (2002), “absurdity”, in The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary on Historical Principles, 5th edition, Oxford; New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press, →ISBN, page 10.