in·dif·fer·ence | \in-ˈdi-fərn(t)s, -f(ə-)rən(t)s\

Definition of indifference 

1 : the quality, state, or fact of being indifferent

2a archaic : lack of difference or distinction between two or more things

b : absence of compulsion to or toward one thing or another

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Examples of indifference in a Sentence

She was amazed that some people could watch the trial with indifference. She watched them with a cool indifference.

Recent Examples on the Web

Regulators and business owners also react with indifference. Julia Belluz, Vox, "How your cycling class could give you hearing loss," 31 May 2018 His attempt to draw a connection between the cases was met with indifference from department brass, Shelby said. Benjamin Oreskes,, "Why did it take so long to arrest the Golden State Killer suspect? Interagency rivalries, old technology, errors and bad luck," 25 May 2018 Foreigners’ soccer was viewed with haughty indifference by the English soccer establishment. Leo Robson, The New Yorker, "How We Watch Soccer Now," 5 Dec. 2016 The grading system of the test has many problems, such as its indifference to factual accuracy, word length and handwriting. WSJ, "Make Students Prove Their Writing Skills," 12 July 2018 Making matters worse is the general indifference of the king's son Hal (Hamish Linklater), the future Henry V, whose days are spent in taverns amongst lowlifes like Falstaff, an obese old drunk with an intoxicating lust for life. Jordan Riefe, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Henry IV': Theater Review," 9 June 2018 Even more worrying is the parties’ indifference to Italy’s central economic weakness: low productivity growth. The Economist, "An Italian populist government looks likely, and risky," 17 May 2018 What is new is the apparent indifference in the White House to the German chancellor, as well as the weakening of Ms. Merkel’s once towering position. Katrin Bennhold, New York Times, "Merkel Is Next to Visit Trump, Skipping the Bonhomie," 26 Apr. 2018 What is new is the apparent indifference in the White House to the German chancellor, as well as the weakening of Merkel’s once towering position. Katrin Bennhold,, "Merkel is next European leader to visit Trump, but they’ll skip the bonhomie," 26 Apr. 2018

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

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First Known Use of indifference

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

25 Sep 2018

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The first known use of indifference was in the 15th century

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English Language Learners Definition of indifference

: lack of interest in or concern about something : an indifferent attitude or feeling


in·dif·fer·ence | \in-ˈdi-fə-rəns, -ˈdi-frəns\

Kids Definition of indifference

: lack of interest or concern He treated the matter with indifference.


in·dif·fer·ence | \in-ˈdif-ərn(t)s, -ˈdif-(ə-)rən(t)s \

Medical Definition of indifference 

: the quality, state, or fact of being indifferent a schizophrenic reaction accompanied by apathy and indifference

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Comments on indifference

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


a state of commotion or excitement

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