Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search



From Latin inclēmēns ‎(unmerciful, severe), from in- ‎(not) + clementem ‎(mild, placid).


  • (UK, US) IPA(key): /ɪnˈklɛm.ənt/, / ˈɪn.kləm.ənt/
  • (file)


inclement ‎(comparative more inclement, superlative most inclement)

  1. Stormy, of rough weather
    • 1667, John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book III, verse 425
      Starless exposed, and ever-threatening storms / Of Chaos blustering round, inclement sky; / Save on that side which from the wall of Heaven, / Though distant far, some small reflection gains / Of glimmering air less vexed with tempest loud.
    • 1667, John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book X, verse 1060
      How much more, if we pray him, will his ear / Be open, and his heart to pitie incline, / And teach us further by what means to shun / Th’ inclement Seasons, Rain, Ice, Hail and Snow, / Which now the Skie with various Face begins.
    • 1726, Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels, Part III, Chapter V
      The first man I saw was of a meagre aspect, with sooty hands and face, his hair and beard long, ragged, and singed in several places. His clothes, shirt, and skin, were all of the same colour. He has been eight years upon a project for extracting sunbeams out of cucumbers, which were to be put in phials hermetically sealed, and let out to warm the air in raw inclement summers.
    • 1851, Herman Melville, Moby-Dick, chapter 35
      Concerning all this, it is much to be deplored that the mast-heads of a southern whale ship are unprovided with those enviable little tents or pulpits, called crow’s-nests, in which the look-outs of a Greenland whaler are protected from the inclement weather of the frozen seas.
    • 1859, Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities, third book, fifth chapter
      From that time, in all weathers, she waited there two hours. As the clock struck two, she was there, and at four she turned resignedly away. When it was not too wet or inclement for her child to be with her, they went together; at other times she was alone; but, she never missed a single day.
    • 1901 to 1902, Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle, The Hound of the Baskervilles, chapter 3
      The man was elderly and infirm. We can understand his taking an evening stroll, but the ground was damp and the night inclement. Is it natural that he should stand for five or ten minutes, as Dr. Mortimer, with more practical sense than I should have given him credit for, deduced from the cigar ash?
  2. (obsolete) Merciless, unrelenting.
    • 1851, Herman Melville, Moby-Dick, chapter 34
      He lived in the world, as the last of the Grisly Bears lived in settled Missouri. And as when Spring and Summer had departed, that wild Logan of the woods, burying himself in the hollow of a tree, lived out the winter there, sucking his own paws; so, in his inclement, howling old age, Ahab’s soul, shut up in the caved trunk of his body, there fed upon the sullen paws of its gloom!
    • 1922, Ben Travers, chapter 4, A Cuckoo in the Nest:
      By some paradoxical evolution rancour and intolerance have been established in the vanguard of primitive Christianity. Mrs. Spoker, in common with many of the stricter disciples of righteousness, was as inclement in demeanour as she was cadaverous in aspect.
  3. (archaic) Unmercifully severe in temper or action.


Related terms[edit]