Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

inadvertent

play
adjective in·ad·ver·tent \-tənt\

Simple Definition of inadvertent

  • : not intended or planned

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of inadvertent

  1. 1 :  not focusing the mind on a matter :  inattentive

  2. 2 :  unintentional <an inadvertent omission>

inadvertently

adverb

Examples of inadvertent in a sentence

  1. <an inadvertent encounter with a rattlesnake in the brush>



The Formation of Inadvertent

It may look innocent, but inadvertent belongs to a class of words that provoke anger in many people who care about language – to wit, the back-formation. Bucking the usual trend in which longer words are formed from shorter ones by the addition of an affix (for example, superficiality from superficial), back-formations are created by clipping off a piece of a longer word; in this case, inadvertent was back-formed from inadvertence or inadvertency. A fair number of these words populate English, including brainwash (from brainwashing), complicit (from complicity), escalate (from escalator), and televise (from television). Certain back-formations, such as liaise (which comes from liaison) rub some people the wrong way. While they are under no obligation to accept liaise, there is nothing inherently wrong with back-formations; they are just another way our language has of creating new words.

Origin and Etymology of inadvertent

back-formation from inadvertence


First Known Use: 1653


INADVERTENT Defined for Kids

inadvertent

play
adjective in·ad·ver·tent \ˌi-nəd-ˈvər-tənt\

Definition of inadvertent for Students

  1. :  not intended or deliberate :  accidental <an inadvertent mistake>

inadvertently

adverb




Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up inadvertent? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

less dense or relating to a select group

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

august-macke-lady-in-a-green-jacket

Which of these is a synonym of namby-pamby?

insipid insightful lithe energetic
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ