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incommode definition


This page has 10 definitions of incommode in English, French, and Latin. Incommode is a verb, an adjective and noun. Also define these 0 related words and terms: .

See also: incommodé

English incommode definition


Etymology 1

PIE word

Learned borrowing from French incommoder (to bother, disconcert, incommode), from Latin incommodāre,[1] the present active infinitive of incommodō (to inconvenience), from in- (prefix meaning ‘not’) + commodō (to accommodate, adapt; to bestow, provide; to hire, lend) (from com- (a variant of con- (prefix indicating completeness or intensification)) + modō (the ablative or singular of modus (manner, method, way; bound, limit; measure), ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *med- (to measure))). The English word is analysable as in- (prefix meaning ‘not’) +‎ commode ((archaic or obsolete) to provide (someone or something) with an appropriate, suitable, or necessary thing; to meet the requirements of (someone or something), suit; to repair (something)).[2]


incommode (third-person singular simple present incommodes, present participle incommoding, simple past and past participle incommoded) (transitive, formal)

  1. To make (someone) uncomfortable; to discomfort, to disturb, to trouble.
    Synonyms: (obsolete) discommodate, discommode
    • 1673 August 4 (Gregorian calendar), John Scott, “A Sermon Preached before the Honourable Military Company at St. Clements Danes, July 25, 1673. [Ephes[ians] 6. 11.]”, in Sermons upon Several Occasions: [], London: [] Walter Kettilby [], and Richard Wilkin [], published 1704, →OCLC, page 21:
      [T]heir Minds are ſo tender and effeminate, that they cannot bear the leaſt Air of Trouble vvithout Diſturbance; and vvhat vvould be a Diverſion to a couragious Soul, grieveth and incommodeth them.
    • 1734, “Chapter XXXIII. Intituled, The Confederates; Revealed at Medina.”, in George Sale, transl., The Koran, Commonly Called The Alcoran of Mohammed, Translated into English Immediately from the Original Arabic; [], London: [] C. Ackers [], for J. Wilcox [], →OCLC, page 349:
      O true believers, enter not the houſes of the prophet, unleſs it be permitted you to eat meat with him, without waiting his convenient time: but when ye are invited, then enter. And when ye ſhall have eaten, diſperſe yourſelves; and ſtay not to enter into familiar diſcourſe: for this incommodeth the prophet.
    • 1748, [Samuel Richardson], “Letter II. Mr. Lovelace, to John Belford, Esq.”, in Clarissa. Or, The History of a Young Lady: [], volume IV, London: [] S[amuel] Richardson;  [], →OCLC, page 19:
      You can't agree as to any time, Mrs. Moore, vvhen vve can have this third room, can you?—Not that (vvhiſper'd I, loud enough to be heard in the next room; Not that) I vvould incommode the lady: But I vvould tell my vvife vvhenabouts []
    • 1765, [Laurence Sterne], chapter XXVI, in The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, volume VIII, London: [] T. Becket and P. A. Dehondt, [], →OCLC, page 119:
      [H]e ſat ſolitary and penſive vvith his pipe—looking at his lame leg—then vvhiffing out a ſentimental heigh ho! vvhich mixing vvith the ſmoak, incommoded no one mortal.
    • 1768, Mr. Yorick [pseudonym; Laurence Sterne], “The Dwarf”, in A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy, volume I, London: [] T. Becket and P. A. De Hondt, [], →OCLC, page 193:
      The dwarf suffered inexpressibly on all sides; but the thing which incommoded him most, was a tall corpulent German, near seven feet high, who stood directly betwixt him and all possibility of his seeing either the stage or the actors.
    • 1811, [Jane Austen], chapter V, in Sense and Sensibility [], volume I, London: [] C[harles] Roworth, [], and published by T[homas] Egerton, [], →OCLC, page 54:
      No sooner was her answer dispatched, than Mrs. Dashwood indulged herself in the pleasure of announcing to her son-in-law and his wife that she was provided with a house, and should incommode them no longer than till every thing were ready for her inhabiting it.
    • 1835, [Washington Irving], chapter XXXV, in A Tour on the Prairies, 1st British edition, London: John Murray, [], →OCLC, page 334:
      Here we passed the night in comfortable quarters; yet we had been, for some weeks past, so accustomed to sleep entirely in the open air, that, at first, the confinement of a chamber incommoded us.
    • 1855 December – 1857 June, Charles Dickens, “Fellow Travellers”, in Little Dorrit, London: Bradbury and Evans, [], published 1857, →OCLC, book the second (Riches), page 326:
      He hoped she was not incommoded by the fatigues of the day. "Incommoded certainly," returned the young lady, "but not tired." The insinuating traveller complimented her on the justice of the distinction. It was what he meant to say. Every lady must doubtless be incommoded, by having to do with that proverbially unaccommodating animal, the mule.
    • 1860 November 5, Judge Edward Vaughan Williams (delivering the judgment of the court in Bamford v. Turnley 3 B. & S. 62, 122 E.R. 25), quotee, “Cavey v. Ledbitter”, in John Scott, editor, Common Bench Reports. [] (New Series), volume XIII, London: W. Benning & Son, []; Dublin: Hodges & Smith, [], published 1863, →OCLC, page 474:
      It should seem, therefore, that just as the use of an offensive trade will be indictable as a public nuisance if it be carried on in an inconvenient place, i.e. a place where it greatly incommodes a multitude of persons, so it will be actionable as a private nuisance if it be carried on in an inconvenient place, i.e. a place where it greatly incommodes an individual.
    • 1888, R[obert] M[ichael] Ballantyne, “The Hero is Blown Away, Captured, Crushed, Comforted, and Astonished”, in The Middy and the Moors: An Algerine Story, London: James Nisbet & Co., [], →OCLC, page 11:
      Youth, strength, and health are not easily incommoded by wet garments! Besides, the weather was unusually warm at the time.
    • 1928 January, Ford Madox Ford, chapter VII, in The Last Post (Parade’s End; 4), New York, N.Y.: The Literary Guild of America, →OCLC, part 1, page 180:
      She had managed to incommode and discredit that pair almost as much as any pair could be incommoded and discredited, although they were the most harmless couple in the world.
  2. To cause (someone or something) inconvenience; to hinder, to impede, to inconvenience, to obstruct.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:hinder
    Antonyms: see Thesaurus:help
    • 1800 December 6, Benjamin Stoddert, “To Captain John Barry, U.S. Navy, from Secretary of the Navy”, in Naval Documents Related to the Quasi-war between the United States and France: Naval Operations from December 1800 to December 1801 [], volume VII, Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, published 1938, →OCLC, page 15:
      With respect to the French Prisoners, it is the direction of the President that none be suffered to remain at St Kitts at the expence of the U.S. a moment longer than can't be avoided – and that every public ship returning from thence to the U.S. be made to bring away as many Prisoners, as each can take, without too much incommoding the crew.
    • 1811, François Bernier, “A Relation of a Voyage Made in the Year 1664. When the Great Mongol, Aureng-Zebe, Went with His Army from Dehli, the Capital of Indostan, to Lahor; from Lahor to Bember, and from thence to the Kingdom of Kachemire, Commonly Called by the Mongols, the Paradise of the Indies, &c. [] [Letter III.—A Description of Lahor, the Capital of Punjab, or the Kingdom of the Free Waters.]”, in John Pinkerton, transl., A General Collection of the Best and Most Interesting Voyages and Travels in All Parts of the World; [], volume VIII, London: [] Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, []; and Cadell and Davies, [], →OCLC, page 206:
      The city of Lahor is built upon one of theſe five rivers, which is not leſs than our river Loire, and for which there is great need of a like bank, becauſe it maketh great devaſtation, and often changeth its bed, and hath but lately retired itſelf from Lahor for a quarter of a league; which very much incommodeth the inhabitants.
    • 1842, [anonymous collaborator of Letitia Elizabeth Landon], chapter XXXV, in Lady Anne Granard; or, Keeping up Appearances. [], volume II, London: Henry Colburn, [], →OCLC, pages 152–153:
      [] Lady Anne set out in good style to Brighton, with Fanchette by her side and the page behind, comparatively little incommoded by luggage, and so conscious of the pleasures of liberty, that she decided on taking up her abode at the convenient hotel close to Kemp Town, where she could see and be seen by every body.
    • 1903, Joseph Conrad, Ford Madox Hueffer [i.e., Ford Madox Ford], chapter II, in Romance [], London: Smith, Elder & Co., [], →OCLC, part fifth (The Lot of Man), page 410:
      Señor, this Irishman incommodes me, and when a man incommodes me, [] But, señor, if they incommoded your Government as they do us, I do not wonder that there was a desire to remove them.
    • 1916 January 11, “Statement of Mr. James I. Blakslee, Fourth Assistant Postmaster General, Accompanied by Mr. Alfred B. Foster, Superintendent of the Division of Equipment and Supplies, and Mr. George L. Wood, Superintendent Division of Rural Mails”, in Post Office Appropriation Bill, 1917: Hearings before Subcommittee No. 1 of the Committee on the Post Office and Post Roads, House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, →OCLC, page 320:
      Mr. [Samuel Willard] Beakes. If you take delivery service away from a man who has had it for 10 or 15 years and make him walk a mile, you do not call that incommoding him? / Mr. Blakslee. Yes, sir; that would be incommoding him.
    • 2010, Stephen Fry, “College to Colleague”, in The Fry Chronicles, London: Michael Joseph, →ISBN, page 87:
      Information is all around us, now more than ever before in human history. You barely have to stir or incommode yourself to find things out.
    • 2013, Rory O’Connell, “Recovering the History of Human Rights: Public Finances and Human Rights”, in Aoife Nolan, Rory O’Connell, Colin Harvey, editors, Human Rights and Public Finance: Budgets and the Promotion of Economic and Social Rights, Oxford, Oxfordshire, Portland, Or.: Hart Publishing, →ISBN, part II (Governance), page 113:
      While incommoding the king, and apparently siding with the commons, the parlements were defending sectional interests and unleashing a crisis of legitimacy that would undermine both the monarchy and nobility.
Related terms

Etymology 2

The adjective is a learned borrowing from French incommode (causing discomfort; inconvenient; troublesome; undesirable, unwanted, unwelcome), from Latin incommodus (inconvenient; disagreeable, troublesome; unfit, unsuitable, unseasonable), from in- (prefix meaning ‘not’) + commodus (becoming, suitable; comfortable, commodious; convenient; useful; opportune, timely; friendly, pleasant) (from com- (a variant of con-) + modus): see further at etymology 1.[3] The English word is analysable as in- (prefix meaning ‘not’) +‎ commode ((obsolete) convenient, opportune; suitable).[4]

The noun is derived from the adjective.[3]


incommode (comparative more incommode, superlative most incommode)

  1. (formal, obsolete) Synonym of incommodious
    1. Inapt; unsuitable.
      • 1678, Theophilus Gale, “The State of the Controversie”, in The Court of the Gentiles. Part IV. Of Reformed Philosophie. Book III. Of Divine Predetermination. [], London: [] John Hill [], and Samuel Tidmarsh [], →OCLC, pages 30–31:
        But although in the actions of vvicked men, vvhen God doth uſe them as Inſtruments for the execution of ſome peculiar vvorks, it may peradventure be ſaid, that God doth determine their vvils, yet it ſeems more incommode to ſay, that God moves and predetermines to al other acts, as to acts of hatred of God, blaſphemie, &c.
    2. Inconvenient; troublesome.
      • 1671 March (first performance), [William] Wycherley, “To Her Grace the Dutchess of Cleaveland”, in Love in a Wood, or, St James’s Park. A Comedy, [], London: [] J[ohn] M[acock] for H[enry] Herringman, [], published 1672, →OCLC:
        But, Madam, to be obliging to that exceſs as you are, (pardon me, if I tell you, out of my extream concern, and ſervice for your Grace) is a dangerous quality, and may be very incommode to you; for Civility makes Poets as troubleſom, as Charity makes Beggers; []
      • 1763, Horace Walpole, “Mr. JOHN SMITH”, in A Catalogue of Engravers, Who Have Been Born, or Resided in England; [], Strawberry-Hill [London]: [] Thomas Farmer [], →OCLC, pages 105–106:
        To poſterity perhaps his prints vvill carry an idea of ſomething burleſque; perukes of outrageous length flovving over ſuits of armour compoſe vvonderfull habits. [] In the kit-cat-club, he has poured full-bottoms [i.e., full-bottomed wigs] chiefly over night-govvns: If thoſe ſtreams of hair vvere incommode in a battle, I knovv nothing they vvere adapted to, that can be done in a night-govvn.


incommode (plural incommodes)

  1. (formal, obsolete) Something which causes inconvenience or trouble; a bother, an incommodity, an inconvenience.
    • 1518 (date written), Thomas Wolsey, “[Collections. Book I.] The Cardinal’s Letter to the Ambassadors in France.”, in Richard Fiddes, The Life of Cardinal Wolsey. [], 2nd edition, London: [] J. Knapton, R. Knaplock, D[aniel] Midwinter, W. and J. Innys, R. Robinson, J. Osborn and T[homas] Longman, published 1726, →OCLC, page 50:
      And as unto the perſonal meeting of both Princes, the vievving of the Place, and Appointing the Number to come vvith the ſaid Princes; in mine Opinion, ye have taken a right ſubſtantial and diſcrete VVay; praying you effectually to follovv the ſame, allvvays foreſeeing, that the Number be not too great, in avoiding ſundry Incommodes and Inconveniences, that might follovv thereof, as I doubt not, you can right vvell conſider.


  1. ^ incommode, v.”, in OED Online , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, September 2021; “incommode, v.”, in Lexico,; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.
  2. ^ commode, v.”, in OED Online , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, March 2022.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Compare “† incommode, adj. and n.”, in OED Online , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, June 2021.
  4. ^ † commode, adj.”, in OED Online , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, December 2020.

French incommode definition




  1. inflection of incommoder:
    1. first/third-person singular present indicative/subjunctive
    2. second-person singular imperative

Latin incommode definition



  1. vocative masculine singular of incommodus


  • incommode”, in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • incommode”, in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • incommode in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire illustré latin-français, Hachette