indifferent

adjective in·dif·fer·ent \ in-ˈdi-fərnt , -f(ə-)rənt \
Updated on: 16 Nov 2017

Definition of indifferent

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.

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

adjective

Definition of indifferent for English Language Learners

  • : 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 \

Definition of indifferent for Students

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 \

medical Definition of indifferent

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


Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to remove or wipe out

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Find the Cousins

  • a-large-tree-with-many-branches
  • Which pair shares a common word ancestor?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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