adjective dil·i·gent \ ˈdi-lə-jənt \
|Updated on: 27 Jul 2018

Definition of diligent

: characterized by steady, earnest, and energetic effort : painstaking
  • a diligent worker



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Examples of diligent in a Sentence

  1. The American intelligence community's single greatest failing is its lack of good "humint"—human intelligence, the dirty, diligent, shoe-leather penetration of terror networks. —Johanna McGearyTime15 Oct. 2001
  2. Like any diligent foreign correspondent, he attends the briefings and collects face time with the officials, but he knows it's the citizens (the upstanding as well as the jailers, the whores, the black marketeers and the smugglers) who tell the truth … Rolling Stone19 Sept. 1996
  3. He was a fourth-year drama student at UCLA and diligent about such valuable actorly exercises as eavesdropping, spying, and telling complicated lies to fellow passengers on airplanes. —Michael ChabonA Model World and Other Stories1991
  4. In spite of diligent work as editor, hack writer, sea captain, and assorted other trades, he wound up poor. —Monroe K. SpearsAmerican Ambitions1987
  5. a student who has been unceasingly diligent in pursuit of a degree in mathematics

Recent Examples of diligent from the Web

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

Did You Know?

You're more likely to be diligent about something if you love doing it. The etymology of diligent reflects the fact that affection can lead to energetic effort. The word, which entered English in the 14th century by way of Anglo-French, descends from the Latin verb diligere, meaning "to value or esteem highly" or "to love." Of course, you don’t need to care for the task at hand in order to be diligent, but it certainly does help!

Origin and Etymology of diligent

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin diligent-, diligens, from present participle of diligere to esteem, love, from di- (from dis- apart) + legere to select — more at legend

Synonym Discussion of diligent

busy, industrious, diligent, assiduous, sedulous mean actively engaged or occupied. busy chiefly stresses activity as opposed to idleness or leisure.
    • too busy to spend time with the children
industrious implies characteristic or habitual devotion to work.
    • industrious employees
diligent suggests earnest application to some specific object or pursuit.
    • very diligent in her pursuit of a degree
assiduous stresses careful and unremitting application.
    • assiduous practice
sedulous implies painstaking and persevering application.
    • a sedulous investigation of the murder

DILIGENT Defined for Kids


adjective dil·i·gent \ ˈdi-lə-jənt \

Definition of diligent for Students

: showing steady and earnest care and hard work
  • a diligent search



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fullness to the point of excess

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