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See also: non-descript


Alternative forms[edit]


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.
    • 1950 April, R. A. H. Weight, “They Passed by My Window”, in Railway Magazine, pages 258-259:
      In 1919, demobilisation specials from Purfleet, Essex, to the North, usually made up of nondescript, almost paintless or grey stock which had seen long wartime service, chalked with slogans, were worked through by way of Bromley and the North London line [] .
    • 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.