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From Latin innocuus (harmless).



innocuous (comparative more innocuous, superlative most innocuous)

  1. Harmless; producing no ill effect.
    • 1838, Richard Chenevix Trench, “Sonnet I. To England. In the Tyrol.”, in Sabbation; Honor Neale; and Other Poems, London: Edward Moxon, [], OCLC 1167636932, page 158:
      With its green cupola or tapering spire, / Which sunset touches with innocuous fire, / The little church appears, to sanctify / The precincts duly where men live and die— [...]
    • 1892, Robert Louis Stevenson, A Footnote to History, ch. 9:
      The shells fell for the most part innocuous; an eyewitness saw children at play beside the flaming houses; not a soul was injured.
    • 1911, Bram Stoker, “Mesmer’s Chest”, in The Lair of the White Worm, London: William Rider and Son, [], OCLC 249388067, page 110:
      Other things, too, there were, not less deadly though seemingly innocuous—dried fungi, the touch of which was death and whose poison was carried on in the air; also traps intended for birds, beast, fishes, reptiles, and insects; machines which could produce pain of any kind and degree, and the only mercy of which was the power of producing speedy death.
    • 2011 September 2, “Wales 2 — 1 Montenegro”, in BBC Sport[1]:
      As the half closed [Gareth] Bale and [Joe] Ledley both went close with good efforts, but [Craig] Bellamy picked up a yellow card for an innocuous challenge that also rules the new Liverpool man out of the trip to Wembley.
  2. Inoffensive; unprovocative; not exceptional.
    • 1893, Gilbert Parker, chapter 12, in Mrs. Falchion:
      Ruth Devlin announced that the song must wait, though it appeared to be innocuous and child-like in its sentiments.
    • 1910, P. G. Wodehouse, chapter 29, in The Intrusion of Jimmy:
      He sat down, and lighted a cigarette, casting about the while for an innocuous topic of conversation.



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