1

I am afraid that when I hear it (if I hear it) I may introduce palm to forehead aggressively (an action some of you might in fact encourage me to do):

Is there one word to express "not belong"? As in:

That book does not belong on that shelf. It belongs on this one with the other compilations of Manitoban poetry.

Or:

I really feel I don't belong here. I mean, everyone is dressed so nicely and speaks so properly, while I in my oversized plaid shirt mumble nonsensically.

Thus, I mean an antonym to belong in the sense of "used to say that someone or something should be in a particular place or situation" (from M-W).

  • 1
    All I can come up with is the phrase "out of place". – Oldbag Jan 3 '15 at 3:56
  • You want a verb not an adjective, right? So something like "I unbelong here" -- well, except better :) – tchrist Jan 3 '15 at 6:43
  • Someone had a bad day and voted down everything on the page. Trolls on an English language discussion board? What's next cannibalistic Buddhists? – hunterhogan Jan 3 '15 at 22:27
1

The two example you give seem different to me. And getting that meaning in a single word is a challenge.


For the first example

That book does not belong on that shelf.

Out of place could be used here, as in

That book is out of place on that shelf.

Contracting the phrase to one word gives

That book is misplaced on that shelf.

The Oxford dictionary defines misplaced as 1.1 Not appropriate or correct in the circumstances


The second example

I really feel I don't belong here.

could also use out of place, but misplaced would be quite an unusual thing to say.

Alien could be used though:

I really feel alien here.

The American Heritage Dictionary defines alien as 2. Belonging to, characteristic of, or constituting another and very different place, society, or person; strange.

0

You might consider amiss, incongruous, or mismatched.

While all three might work in your first sentence only incongruous and mismatched really fit in your second one.

0

I think outlier or aberrant should fit, although I think outlier is better.

From http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/outlier, an outlier is:

  1. something that lies outside the main body or group that it is a part of, as a cow far from the rest of the herd, or a distant island belonging to a cluster of islands
  2. someone who stands apart from others of his or her group, as by differing behavior, beliefs, or religious practices

In your examples, it would be like:

That book is an outlier on that shelf. It belongs on this one with the other compilations of Manitoban poetry.

I really feel like an outlier here. I mean, everyone is dressed so nicely and speaks so properly, while I in my oversized plaid shirt mumble nonsensically.

-1

Suggestions

  1. Pariah
  2. Outcast
  3. Transplanted
  4. Inappropriate
  5. Unacceptable
  6. Ill-fitting
  7. Ill-suited

Suffixes

As one commenter suggested, "un-" will probably be fruitful. More than one of good suggestion has started with "mis-". I think negating suffixes can yield some good words here.

Previously suggested words with which I agree

  1. Misplaced
  2. Alien
  3. Mismatched
-1

Consider foreign. American Heritage offers these two definitions (among others)

  1. Situated in an abnormal or improper place in the body and typically introduced from outside: a foreign object in the eye.
  2. Not natural; alien: Jealousy is foreign to her nature.
-2

There really ought to be a commonly understood word for this concept, and some people incorrectly think it is anachronism.

This previous discussion came up with the interesting, but uncommon, analogous word anatopism.

  • 1
    Why would anyone think anachronism works here? – Kevin Jan 3 '15 at 6:34
  • @Kevin Illiteracy? It does seem to be a common error. – Spehro Pefhany Jan 3 '15 at 7:01
  • Perhaps you hang out with different crowds than I do; I've never heard that "common" error. – Kevin Jan 3 '15 at 7:09

protected by tchrist Oct 27 '17 at 12:59

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