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[ih-nok-yoo-uh s] /ɪˈnɒk yu əs/
not harmful or injurious; harmless:
an innocuous home remedy.
not likely to irritate or offend; inoffensive; an innocuous remark.
not interesting, stimulating, or significant; pallid; insipid:
an innocuous novel.
Origin of innocuous
1590-1600; < Latin innocuus. See in-3, nocuous
Related forms
innocuously, adverb
innocuousness, innocuity
[in-uh-kyoo-i-tee] /ˌɪn əˈkyu ɪ ti/ (Show IPA),
uninnocuous, adjective
uninnocuously, adverb
uninnocuousness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for innocuous
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Dr. Davy found it extremely acrid, but innocuous when introduced into the circulation.

    Reptiles and Birds Louis Figuier
  • Has the art censor decided that the photographs are innocuous, or that they are art?

  • The coat as an article of dress had fallen into "innocuous desuetude."

    Memoirs of Orange Jacobs Orange Jacobs
  • Tomfoolery, nonsense; trashy, mild, and innocuous literature.

    The Slang Dictionary John Camden Hotten
  • The women get up in the morning, spend the forenoon fixing themselves up to take in some innocuous gabblefest after luncheon.

    North of Fifty-Three Bertrand W. Sinclair
British Dictionary definitions for innocuous


having little or no adverse or harmful effect; harmless
Derived Forms
innocuously, adverb
innocuousness, innocuity (ˌɪnəˈkjuːɪtɪ) noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin innocuus harmless, from in-1 + nocēre to harm
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Contemporary definitions for innocuous

unlikely to arouse strong feeling; insipid

Word Origin

Latin in- + nocere 'to injure''s 21st Century Lexicon
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Word Origin and History for innocuous

1590s, from Latin innocuus "harmless," from in- "not" (see in- (1)) + nocuus "hurtful," from root of nocere "to injure, harm," from *nok-s-, suffixed form of PIE root *nek- "death" (see necro-). Related: Innocuously; innocuousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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innocuous in Medicine

innocuous in·noc·u·ous (ĭ-nŏk'yōō-əs)
Having no adverse effect; harmless.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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