Saturday, October 22, 2005

Oxford Dictionary: Absurd

According to the Oxford Dictionary on my machine,

We call something absurd when it is utterly inconsistent with what common sense or experience tells us (: she found herself in the absurd position of having to defend the intelligence of a cockroach).

Ludicrous applies to whatever is so incongruous that it provokes laughter or scorn (: a ludicrous suggestion that he might escape unnoticed if he dressed up as a woman), and ridiculous implies that ridicule or mockery is the only appropriate response ( | she tried to look younger, but succeeded only in making herself look ridiculous).

Foolish behavior shows a lack of intelligence or good judgment (: it was foolish to keep that much money under a mattress), while unreasonable behavior implies that the person has intentionally acted contrary to good sense ( | his response was totally unreasonable in view of the fact that he'd asked for their honest opinion).

Preposterous should be reserved for those acts or situations that are glaringly absurd or ludicrous. For example, it might be unreasonable to judge an entire nation on the basis of one tourist's experience and foolish to turn down an opportunity to visit that country on those grounds alone, but it would be preposterous to suggest that everyone who comes to the U.S. will be robbed at gunpoint.

the definition itself is: (of an idea or suggestion) wildly unreasonable, illogical, or inappropriate


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