Preposterous vs Absurd: Difference and Comparison

Preposterous and absurd are similar words and some might say that they can be used as a synonym of each other. But these two words cannot be used interchangeably in every situation.

They are not diametrically opposite words of each other but using one instead of the other may make the situation less impactful.

Key Takeaways

  1. “Preposterous” is an adjective describing something contrary to reason or common sense, appearing ridiculous or nonsensical.
  2. “Absurd” is an adjective that conveys a similar meaning, referring to something wildly unreasonable, illogical, or inappropriate.
  3. Both “preposterous” and “absurd” can express strong disbelief or disapproval, highlighting the irrational or ludicrous nature of a situation, idea, or statement.

Preposterous vs Absurd

The difference between preposterous and absurd is that preposterous is used to describe a ridiculous situation where people might tell something impossible to perform. On the other hand, absurd is an adjective more suited to be used when people are trying to be irrational or act weirdly.

Preposterous vs Absurd

Preposterous is an adjective that describes a nonsensical or insane situation. For example, it’s preposterous to walk on the snow barefoot.

In this situation, preposterous is used to describe a fact that sounds illogical or impossible. It is mainly said with a very heavy impact, more like an expression we use in an exclamatory sentence.  

Absurd means being very silly but not completely insane. The noun form of absurd is an absurdity and it is also used often.

People might use absurd to describe a situation where people are being irrational but not completely lunatic. For example, your ideas are becoming more absurd due to constant overthinking.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonPreposterousAbsurd
MeaningPreposterous is an adjective that is used to explain something ridiculous.Absurd is also an adjective that is used to explain an irresponsible or irrational act.
EtymologyThe word preposterous has been derived from the Latin word praeposterus during the mid-16th century.The word absurd has been derived from the Latin word absurdus meaning out of tune.
UseIt is used as a sense of passing a judgment to describe an act or a situation where something impossible is asked to be done.It is mainly used in a situation where people are trying to be foolish or unreasonable.
AntonymsSome of the antonyms are sensible, reasonable, sane, etc.Some of the antonyms are realistic, practical, logical, etc.
SynonymsSome of the synonyms of preposterous are ridiculous, ludicrous, nonsensical, etc.Some of the synonyms are stupid, loony, goofy, illogical, etc.
ExampleThe negligence of COVID protocols in the residency was preposterous.The absurd allegations made him laugh thinking they won’t stand a chance in the court.

What is Preposterous?

When the word preposterous started becoming popular in the 16th century it was mainly used to describe the insanity in reverse order of a process. For example, in cooking the first step is marinating and the final step is garnishing.

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So, it would be insane if a chef tries to garnish a dish and they marinates it. So, to describe the insanity or the fact that it is impossible to do something like this.

Another example is if a person tries to wear underwear after getting fully dressed. This idea can also be described as completely preposterous. Some more examples of how to use the word preposterous in a sentence are given below.

  1. She was so jealous that she thought killing someone wasn’t too preposterous.
  2. The idea of going to an exam unprepared was preposterous according to her.
  3. They are asking for a preposterous price for the work they have been doing.
  4. Don’t be too preposterous while negotiating with the company.
  5. He was embarrassed in front of everyone because of his preposterous idea.

In many sentences, the exclamation mark is also used while using the word preposterous.

It is wise not to use the word if someone finds anything silly or foolish because that tend to put a negative unnecessary impression. So, in any harmless situations, other relevant synonyms should be used.

What is Absurd?

We hear the phrase “being absurd” when people think any idea or suggestion is weird or irrelevant. Absurd is a very common word mostly used when a person disagrees with any person or what someone else is doing.

For example, I don’t understand why Kate keeps suggesting absurd ideas.

This gives an impression that the person doesn’t agree with the ideas of Kate but still, she suggested something doable. Some other examples of how to use absurd in a sentence are given below.

  1. I don’t like absurd rituals that force people to get out of their comfort zone.
  2. It’s very absurd how suddenly she got detached from our special group.
  3. Even for a sadistic person like William, the idea was very absurd.
  4. His absurd behavior in the office is too much to take.
  5. Any logical person would never agree to his absurd plans.
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The noun form of absurd, i.e., absurdity can also be used in place of absurd but have to form the sentence differently. For example, Dave has fallen victim to a very absurd situation.

In this case, the adjective form is used. If we want to use the noun form of the word then we can rewrite the sentence as Dave shied at the absurdity of the situation.


Main Differences Between Preposterous and Absurd

  1. Preposterous is used to explain a very insane situation whereas absurd is used to explain the behavior of people when they are not thinking logically.
  2. Preposterous is used more like an exclamatory reaction whereas absurd is not used in such an intensely impactful way.
  3. The noun for preposterous is not common and most people aren’t aware of it whereas the noun form of absurd (absurdity) is a common word.
  4. Using the word preposterous in place of absurd will make the situation more dramatic whereas using absurd instead of preposterous will not fully explain the insanity.
  5. An action that is described as preposterous is more like a thing that is not accepted or impossible whereas absurd actions are acceptable but very immature and foolish.
Difference Between X and Y 2023 07 25T083219.585

Last Updated : 25 July, 2023

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