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[pri-pos-ter-uh s, -truh s] /prɪˈpɒs tər əs, -trəs/
completely contrary to nature, reason, or common sense; absurd; senseless; utterly foolish:
a preposterous tale.
Origin of preposterous
1535-45; < Latin praeposterus with the hinder part foremost. See pre-, posterior, -ous
Related forms
preposterously, adverb
preposterousness, noun
unpreposterous, adjective
unpreposterously, adverb
unpreposterousness, noun
unreasonable, excessive, ridiculous. See absurd. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for preposterous
  • If you buy that premise, then maybe the rest of the story won't seem so preposterous.
  • Next, the book had a preposterous built-in gag appeal.
  • Perhaps it's not as preposterous as it sounds.
  • His ability to contrive a really preposterous situation is impressive.
  • The story, with its arcane riddles and preposterous twists, does not translate well to the screen.
  • It is preposterous to start assigning quantitative values as if this was rigorous research.
  • The idea of remaking it shot-for-shot seems both preposterous and futile.
  • The idea was so preposterous I hesitated to dignify it with a disclaimer.
  • But to those of us who find the area sunny and refreshing the idea is preposterous.
  • This gifted satirist's delightful election-year broadside is as accurate as it is preposterous.
British Dictionary definitions for preposterous


contrary to nature, reason, or sense; absurd; ridiculous
Derived Forms
preposterously, adverb
preposterousness, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin praeposterus reversed, from prae in front, before + posterus following
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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Word Origin and History for preposterous

1540s, from Latin praeposterus "absurd, contrary to nature, inverted, perverted, in reverse order," literally "before-behind" (cf. topsy-turvy, cart before the horse), from prae "before" + posterus "subsequent." Related: Preposterously; preposterousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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