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adjective neg·li·gent \-jənt\

: failing to take proper or normal care of something or someone

Full Definition of NEGLIGENT

a :  marked by or given to neglect especially habitually or culpably
b :  failing to exercise the care expected of a reasonably prudent person in like circumstances
:  marked by a carelessly easy manner
neg·li·gent·ly adverb

Examples of NEGLIGENT

  1. The fire was started by a negligent smoker.
  2. He was negligent in not reporting the accident to the police.


Middle English, from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French, from Latin neglegent-, neglegens, present participle of neglegere
First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of NEGLIGENT

negligent, neglectful, lax, slack, remiss mean culpably careless or indicative of such carelessness. negligent implies inattention to one's duty or business <negligent about writing a note of thanks>. neglectful adds a more disapproving implication of laziness or deliberate inattention <a society callously neglectful of the poor>. lax implies a blameworthy lack of strictness, severity, or precision <a reporter lax about accurate quotation>. slack implies want of due or necessary diligence or care <slack workmanship>. remiss implies blameworthy carelessness shown in slackness, forgetfulness, or neglect <had been remiss in their familial duties>.

Other Legal Terms

actionable, alienable, carceral, chattel, complicity, decedent, larceny, malfeasance, modus operandi
NEGLIGENT Defined for Kids


adjective neg·li·gent \ˈne-glə-jənt\

Definition of NEGLIGENT for Kids

:  failing to take proper or normal care of something or someone
neg·li·gent·ly adverb


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