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 There is no such thing as benign neglect of the U.S. border. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, 3 Mar. 2023 It’s protected only by private ownership and the extraordinary power of benign neglect. Verlyn Klinkenborg, The New York Review of Books, 6 July 2022 Companies took an approach of benign neglect to monitoring employee performance during Covid-19—such as dropping formal evaluations and goal-setting conversations. Francesca Fontana, WSJ, 18 Sep. 2022 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 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'benign neglect.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1899, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of benign neglect was in 1899

Dictionary Entries Near benign neglect

Cite this Entry

“Benign neglect.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

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