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See also: incohérent


Alternative forms[edit]


in- +‎ coherent


incoherent (comparative more incoherent, superlative most incoherent)

  1. Not coherent.
    1. Not making logical sense; not logically connected or consistent.
      When we confronted her, she gave us a hasty, incoherent explanation.
      After just a few drinks, he becomes incoherent.
      • 1599, Ralph Brooke, A Discouerie of Certaine Errours Published in Print in the Much Commended Britannia, London, p. 35,[1]
        By which thus still ouermuch busying your selfe in matters passing your skill, it maketh you so forgetfull, that oftentimes you are faine to vtter matters incoherent, and much contradictorie.
      • 1765, William Warburton, The Divine Legation of Moses, London: A. Millar and J. and R. Tonson, 4th edition, Volume 3, Book 4, Section 4, p. 103, note z,[2]
        [] this historian of men and manners goes on in the same rambling incoherent manner []
      • 1881, Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady, Volume 1, Chapter 15,[3]
        [] the big dark dining table twinkled here and there in the small candle-light; the pictures on the wall, all of them very brown, looked vague and incoherent.
      • 1980, Barry Unsworth, Pascali’s Island, Penguin, 1988, p. 154,
        It was as if he was in fear of being swamped, rendered incoherent, by the sheer marvelousness of what he was relating.
      • 2002, Julian Barnes, Something to Declare, New York: Knopf, Chapter 1, p. 10,[4]
        The historian [] is a sort of novelist, but one who instead of inventing plot and character is obliged to discover them; who instead of setting characters in motion against one another with foreknowledge of their natures and destinies tries to guess at what often incoherent characters were up to amid a distraction of lies and suppressions.
    2. (obsolete) Not holding together physically; loose; unconnected.
      • 1690, John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, London: Thomas Basset, The Epistle to the Reader,[5]
        [] Some hasty and undigested Thoughts, on a Subject I had never before considered, which I set down against our next Meeting, gave the first entrance into this Discourse, which having been thus begun by Chance, was continued by Intreaty; written by incoherent parcels; and, after long intervals of neglect, resum'd again, as my Humour or Occasions permitted; and at last, in a retirement, where an Attendence on my Health gave me leisure, it was brought into that order thou now seest it.
      • 1695, John Woodward, An Essay toward a Natural History of the Earth and Terrestrial Bodies, London: Richard Wilkin, Part 2, p. 110,[6]
        That Sand-Stone does not still consolidate: i.e. that Matter which was, a few Years ago, lax, incoherent, and in form of Earth, or of Sand, does not become daily more hard and consistent, and by little and little acquire a perfect Solidity, and so turn to Stone; as others have asserted.
      • 1696, John Sergeant, The Method to Science, London, Book 3, pp. 228-229,[7]
        [] sooner, may all the Material World crumble into Incoherent Atoms, or relapse into the Abyss of Nothingness, than that any Conclusion, thus deduced, can be False []
    3. Not cohering socially, not united.
      • 1888, Samuel Moore (translator), Manifesto of the Communist Party by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Chicago: Charles H. Kerr, 1906, p. 25,[8]
        At this stage the labourers still form an incoherent mass scattered over the whole country, and broken up by their mutual competition.
      • 1961, James Baldwin, in James Baldwin: Collected Essays, New York: Library of America, 1998, p. 223,[9]
        [] because I am an American writer my subject and my material inevitably has to be a handful of incoherent people in an incoherent country.
      • 1969, Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness, New York: Ace, 2010, Chapter 8,[10]
        I was glad, now, to be out of Karhide, an incoherent land driven towards violence by a paranoid, pregnant king and an egomaniac Regent.



Related terms[edit]




in- +‎ coherent



incoherent (masculine and feminine plural incoherents)

  1. incoherent

Derived terms[edit]