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From non- +‎ descript.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈnɒndɪskɹɪpt/
  • (US) IPA(key): /nɑndəsˈkɹɪpt/
  • (file)


nondescript (comparative more nondescript, superlative most nondescript)

  1. (biology, now rare) Not described (in the academic literature).
    Synonyms: undescribed, unidentified
  2. Without distinguishing qualities or characteristics.
    Synonyms: (nonstandard) undescript, unexceptional
    He drove a nondescript silver sedan.
    • 1895, Robert Louis Stevenson, “The Second Cabin”, in The Amateur Emigrant:
      There was, besides, a Scots mason, known from his favourite dish as "Irish Stew," three or four nondescript Scots, a fine young Irishman, O'Reilly, and a pair of young men who deserve a special word of condemnation.
    • 2017 February 23, Katie Rife, “The Girl With All The Gifts tries to put a fresh spin on overripe zombie clichés”, in The Onion AV Club[1]:
      We open in a grimy, fluorescent-lit military base somewhere in rural England, where the girl from the poster, Melanie (Sennia Nanua), is the star student in a class full of children who are wheeled into school—or at least, the nondescript concrete room that serves as a school—with their arms, legs, and foreheads bound to their wheelchairs by leather straps.
    • 2021 December 29, Stephen Roberts, “Stories and facts behind railway plaques: Chippenham (1841)”, in RAIL, number 947, page 57:
      The plaque, of light-blue hue (a tone favoured by the Wiltshire market town's civic society), can be found on a nondescript structure just outside the station.



nondescript (plural nondescripts)

  1. (chiefly biology) A species or other type of creature that has not been previously described or identified. [from 17th c.]
    • 1791, Thomas Paine, Rights of Man:
      Imagination has given figure and character to centaurs, satyrs, and down to all the fairy tribe; but titles baffle even the powers of fancy, and are a chimerical non-descript.
  2. An undistinguished, unexceptional person or thing. [from 18th c.]
  3. (UK) An unmarked police car.
    • 1970, Peter Laurie, Scotland Yard: a study of the Metropolitan Police (page 118)
      By a nice British compromise, the enforcement car — visible just then as a white spot on the television screen — has nothing externally to show its police affiliation, but unlike the CID's nondescripts, carries two large policemen in uniform.