Weekly Word: Innocuous


It’s that time of week again where I share a word that I find interesting.

This week’s Weekly Word is: innocuous


Part of Speech



ɪnɒkjuəs / ĭ-nŏk′yo͞o-əs /


  1. having little or no adverse or harmful effects; harmless to physical or mental health
  2. not controversial, offensive or stimulating; dull and uninspiring; unlikely to cause offence or to provoke strong emotion

Related Words

  • innocuously (adverb)
  • innocuousness (noun)
  • innocuity (noun)

Word Origin

First recorded use – 16th Century (1590–1600): from Latin innocuus, meaning ‘harmless’ in, ‘not’ + nocuus, ‘harmful‘ – from nocere, ‘to harm, injure‘ – from Paleo Indo European root, nek ‘death


  1. harmless, jejune, kind, safe, innocent, innoxious
  2. banal, bland, flat, inobnoxious, inoffensive, insipid, sapless, unobjectional, unoffending, weak


  1. harmful, noxious,
  2. obnoxious, offensive, rude, unpleasant

Use the Word

Jenny eased through the crowd of her husband’s friends with a inoffensive smile plastered upon her face, an innocuous figure amongst the hubbub of competing egos. She was harmless, they all thought, merely an insipid no one who they all passed over for conversation. She was ignored – which was exactly what she wanted.

For hers was the innocuity of the Actaea plant that grew in the corner of her garden. The pale, slender flower spikes of the summer months concealed the danger of the autumnal baneberries that she had so carefully gathered and prepared. She’d made all of her plans whilst pottering so innocuously amongst the plants.

No one would ever think that she could be the one who slipped the poison into her husband’s brandy. Her innocuousness would allow her to finally escape from the vicious man who had controlled her life for far too long.


If you would like to join in with this activity in any way, feel free to do so. You could either share a Weekly Word of your own – this week beginning with the letter I – or you could use my word, or Millie Thom’s, as inspiration for a post. This could be a piece of poetry, flash fiction, or any form of prose you choose. Just share a link in the comments so we can see what you’ve been up to!

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