benign neglect


Definition of benign neglect

: an attitude or policy of ignoring an often delicate or undesirable situation that one is held to be responsible for dealing with

Examples of benign neglect in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web By the time Joe Biden arrived in the Oval Office, the West’s attitude toward Ukraine was benign neglect. Michael Kimmage, The New Republic, 7 Feb. 2022 Providing benign neglect is the best way to have bougainvilleas in bloom each year. Tom Maccubbin,, 1 Jan. 2022 But that’s just fine with Ms. Piesse, who deems this benign neglect of heritage very much in line with the Shropshire spirit. Christoph Irmscher, WSJ, 20 Dec. 2021 At least two neighbors watched Lexi’s plight and telephoned animal control to report this benign neglect, but the complaints came to nothing; the legal threshold for abuse of animals is pretty high. Gene Weingarten, Washington Post, 8 Nov. 2021 Some party officials and allies of the White House worry that the combination of benign neglect for early bundlers and the potential for voting legislation to languish could hamper fund-raising in 2022 and beyond. New York Times, 4 Nov. 2021 Here’s one mom’s recipe for successful parenting: benign neglect. Laura Newberry, Los Angeles Times, 1 Nov. 2021 Even if his leadership contrasts with Trump's benign neglect, Biden hasn't been perfect on the pandemic either. Stephen Collinson, CNN, 12 Oct. 2021 Years of benign neglect followed in Afghanistan as Kabul and all our Afghan allies became more and more alienated by the America's lack of action to combat the Taliban. Jason Amerine, CNN, 16 Aug. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'benign neglect.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of benign neglect

1899, in the meaning defined above

Learn More About benign neglect

Time Traveler for benign neglect

Time Traveler

The first known use of benign neglect was in 1899

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near benign neglect


benign neglect

benign paroxysmal positional vertigo

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for benign neglect

Cite this Entry

“Benign neglect.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon


Test Your Vocabulary

Words Named After People

  • name tags
  • Namesake of the leotard, Jules Léotard had what profession?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!