Alternative formsEdit


From Latin praeposterus (with the hinder part before, reversed, inverted, perverted), from prae (before) + posterus (coming after).



preposterous (comparative more preposterous, superlative most preposterous)

  1. Absurd, or contrary to common sense.
    • c. 1595–1596, W. Shakespere [i.e., William Shakespeare], A Pleasant Conceited Comedie Called, Loues Labors Lost. [] (First Quarto), London: [] W[illiam] W[hite] for Cut[h]bert Burby, published 1598, OCLC 61366361; republished as Shakspere’s Loves Labours Lost (Shakspere-Quarto Facsimiles; no. 5), London: W[illiam] Griggs, [], [1880], OCLC 1154977408, [Act I, scene i]:
      [...] I did incounter that obſeene and moſt prepoſterous euent that draweth frõ my ſnowhite pen the ebon coloured Incke, which here thou vieweſt, beholdeſt, ſuruayeſt, or ſeeſt. [...] There did I ſee that low ſpirited Swaine, [...] hight Coſtard, (Clow[ne]. O mee) ſorted and conſorted contrary to thy eſtabliſhed proclaymed Edict and continent Cannon; Which with, o with, but with this I paſſion to ſay wherewith: / Clo[wne]. With a Wench.
    • 1918, W[illiam] B[abington] Maxwell, chapter XXXIV, in The Mirror and the Lamp, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, OCLC 4293071, page 266:
      The preposterous altruism too! If a man takes your coat, give him your cloak. Resist not evil. It is an insane immolation of self—as bad intrinsically as fakirs stabbing themselves or anchorites warping their spines in caves scarcely large enough for a fair-sized dog.
    • 2014 December 4, Timothy Egan, “A deficit of dignity”, in The New York Times[1]:
      Leading the attack on the president's very citizenship is the professional vulgarian Donald Trump, who gets away with the kind of preposterous, race-based comments granted few black public figures.
    • 2016 January 30, "America deserves more from presidential hopefuls," The National (retrieved 31 January 2016):
      Democrats, too, must be criticised. While they have not made preposterous statements or been threatening or demagogic, they, all too often, have come up short, failing to propose new ideas that can help unwind conflicts raging across the Middle East.



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