preposterous .

absurd, ridiculous


preposterous = absurd, lächerlich, grotesk, unsinnig, widersinnig, unsinnig, sinnlos



“And it would be PREPOSTEROUS to allow fisheries, which account for barely 0.1% of the UK's GDP, to block a deal with the EU."

The Economist

Did you


- completely unreasonable and ridiculous; not to be believed:

Cambridge Dictionary


1540s, “contrary to nature, reason, or common sense,” from Latin praeposterus “absurd, contrary to nature, inverted, perverted, in reverse order,” from prae “before” + posterus “subsequent, coming after,” or literally “before following behind” — which is absurd indeed, but a good way to remember it!

This original sense gradually shaded into “foolish, ridiculous, stupid, absurd.”

The word preposterous has much power, especially if uttered with indignant intonation. Note these common examples:

- preposterous allegation = völlig absurde Anschuldigung
- preposterous demand = widersinnige Nachfrage
- preposterous price = unsinniger Preis


English is bursting with word meanings close to preposterous. A small selection:

asinine, deranged, bonkers,  farcical, flakey, off-the-wall, in left field, madcap, half-baked, nuts, incomprehensible, non compos mentis, crackbrained, feather-brained, hare-brained, bird-brained, pea-brained, rattlebrained, loony, cockeyed, cockamamie, crackpot, featherheaded, foolheaded, dunderheaded, boneheaded, blockheaded, woodenheaded, screwball, whacky, imbecilic, dopey, cretinous, wackadoo, surreal, outrageous, scandalous, disgraceful, contemptible, monstrous, shameful...

What do the eccentricities of a language say about the people who speak it? Let me know what you think.

Practice OWAD in an English conversation, say something like:

“The number of PREPOSTEROUS fake news stories in 2020 has made many people very sceptical of social media.”

VIELEN DANK to all readers helping me keep OWAD alive with single or monthly donations at:

Paul Smith

More Word Quizzes: