indifferent

adjective in·dif·fer·ent \ in-ˈdi-fərnt , -f(ə-)rənt \
Updated on: 12 Apr 2018
1 : marked by impartiality : unbiased
2 a : that does not matter one way or the other
b : of no importance or value one way or the other
3 a : marked by no special liking for or dislike of something
  • indifferent about which task he was given
b : marked by a lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern for something : apathetic
  • indifferent to suffering and poverty
4 : being neither excessive nor inadequate : moderate
  • hills of indifferent size
5 a : being neither good nor bad : mediocre
  • does indifferent work
b : being neither right nor wrong
6 : characterized by lack of active quality : neutral
  • an indifferent chemical
7 a : not differentiated
  • indifferent tissues of the human body
b : capable of development in more than one direction; especially : not yet embryologically determined

indifferently

adverb

Examples of indifferent in a Sentence

  1. It can hardly be argued, by himself or by his defenders, that he was indifferent to, or unaware of, the true situation. —Christopher HitchensHarper'sMarch 2001
  2. … aspects of language that the earlier grammarians were indifferent to. —Geoffrey NunbergAtlanticDecember 1983
  3. For it is commonly said and commonly believed that science is completely neutral and indifferent as to the ends and values which move men to act … —John DeweyFreedom and Culture1939
  4. The movie was poorly received by an indifferent public.

  5. Was the food good, bad, or indifferent?

Recent Examples of indifferent from the Web

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

The many shades of indifferent

Many of the words in our language have more than a single meaning. In most cases we have little trouble distinguishing them; we understand, based on the context in which each is used, that the English of "the English language" is different from the English used in billiards or pool ("spin around the vertical axis deliberately imparted to a ball that is driven or rolled"). In other cases, such as with the word indifferent, it can be a bit confusing. Indifferent may mean "unbiased," "apathetic," "mediocre," "unimportant," and several other things. Some of these senses are distinguished by the words commonly used with them; the "apathetic" sense, for instance, is typically followed by the preposition to. When using indifferent in your own writing take care that the surrounding words offer your reader sufficient context to prevent confusion.

Origin and Etymology of indifferent

Middle English, from Anglo-French or Latin; Anglo-French, from Latin indifferent-, indifferens, from in- + different-, differens, present participle of differre to be different — more at differ

Synonym Discussion of indifferent

indifferent, unconcerned, incurious, aloof, detached, disinterested mean not showing or feeling interest. indifferent implies neutrality of attitude from lack of inclination, preference, or prejudice.
    • indifferent to the dictates of fashion
unconcerned suggests a lack of sensitivity or regard for others' needs or troubles.
    • unconcerned about the homeless
incurious implies an inability to take a normal interest due to dullness of mind or to self-centeredness.
    • incurious about the world
aloof suggests a cool reserve arising from a sense of superiority or disdain for inferiors or from shyness.
    • aloof from his coworkers
detached implies an objective attitude achieved through absence of prejudice or selfishness.
    • observed family gatherings with detached amusement
disinterested implies a circumstantial freedom from concern for personal or especially financial advantage that enables one to judge or advise without bias.
    • judged by a panel of disinterested observers

INDIFFERENT Defined for English Language Learners

indifferent

  • : not interested in or concerned about something

  • : neither good nor bad : not very good


INDIFFERENT Defined for Kids

indifferent

adjective in·dif·fer·ent \ in-ˈdi-fə-rənt , -ˈdi-frənt \
1 : not interested or concerned about something She's indifferent about your problems.
2 : neither good nor bad
  • an indifferent performance

indifferently

adverb

Medical Dictionary

indifferent

adjective in·dif·fer·ent \ in-ˈdif-ərnt, -ˈdif-(ə-)rent \
1 : having or exhibiting a lack of affect, concern, or care
2 a : not differentiated
  • indifferent tissues of the human body
b : capable of development in more than one direction; especially : not yet embryologically determined

indifferently

adverb


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