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Merriam-Webster's Definitions for The Absurd and Absurdism



1 : ridiculously unreasonable, unsound, or incongruous <an absurd argument>

2 : having no rational or orderly relationship to human life : meaningless <an absurd universe>; also : lacking order or value <an absurd existence>

3 : dealing with the absurd or with absurdism <absurd theater>

<Encyclopedic> "The absurd" refers to the conflict between the human tendency to seek inherent meaning in life and the human inability to find any. In this context "absurd" does not mean "logically impossible," but rather "humanly impossible." The universe and the human mind do not each separately cause the Absurd, but rather, the Absurd arises by the contradictory nature of the two existing simultaneously.



1 : a philosophy based on the belief that the universe is irrational and meaningless and that the search for order brings the individual into conflict with the universe.

<Encyclopedic> A philosophical school of thought stating that the efforts of humanity to find inherent meaning will ultimately fail (and hence are absurd), because no such meaning exists, at least in relation to the individual. As a philosophy, absurdism also explores the fundamental nature of the Absurd and how individuals, once becoming conscious of the Absurd, should react to it.



1 : the quality or state of being absurd : absurdness

2 : something that is absurd <the absurdity of expecting a 98-year-old woman to adequately supervise four six-year-olds>

<Encyclopedic> Absurdity is a thing that is extremely unreasonable, so as to be foolish or not taken seriously, or the state of being so. "Absurd" is an adjective used to describe an absurdity, e.g., "this encyclopedia article is absurd". It derives from the Latin absurdusm meaning "out of tune", hence irrational. The Latin surdus means deaf, implying stupidity. Absurdity is contrasted with seriousness in reasoning. In general usage, absurdity may be synonymous with ridiculousness and nonsense. In specialized usage, absurdity is related to extremes in bad reasoning or pointlessness in reasoning; ridiculousness is related to extremes of incongruous juxtaposition, laughter, and ridicule; and nonsense is related to a lack of meaningfulness. Students of the absurd usually note a subtle difference between something like 'nonsense' and something which is 'absurd', in that absurdity is often hidden within either ultra-seriousness or widely-trusted thought. Thus, the role of absurdists is to draw attention to the ridiculous in either 'expert-logic' or 'common-sense'.



1 : of, relating to, or characterized by the absurd or by absurdism : absurd <absurdist literature> <an absurdist sense of humor>


First known use of "Absurdist" -1946