indifferent

adjective
in·​dif·​fer·​ent | \ in-ˈdi-fərnt, -f(ə-)rənt How to pronounce indifferent (audio) \

Definition of indifferent

1a : marked by a lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern for something : apathetic indifferent to suffering and poverty
b : marked by no special liking for or dislike of something indifferent about which task he was given
2a : being neither good nor bad : mediocre does indifferent work
b : being neither right nor wrong
3 : being neither excessive nor inadequate : moderate hills of indifferent size
4 : marked by impartiality : unbiased
5a : that does not matter one way or the other
b : of no importance or value one way or the other
6 : characterized by lack of active quality : neutral an indifferent chemical
7a : not differentiated indifferent tissues of the human body
b : capable of development in more than one direction especially : not yet embryologically determined

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Other Words from indifferent

indifferently adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

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.

Examples of indifferent in a Sentence

It can hardly be argued, by himself or by his defenders, that he was indifferent to, or unaware of, the true situation. — Christopher Hitchens, Harper's, March 2001 … aspects of language that the earlier grammarians were indifferent to. — Geoffrey Nunberg, Atlantic, December 1983 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 Dewey, Freedom and Culture, 1939 The movie was poorly received by an indifferent public. Was the food good, bad, or indifferent?
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Recent Examples on the Web Incentives could play a key role in vaccinating those who intend to get vaccinated but haven't yet, and those who are indifferent to vaccination. Sophie Carson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "11 things experts say will help the rest of Wisconsin get vaccinated," 12 May 2021 At the same time, Davis is trying to portray Newsom as an out-of-touch elitist, just another politician who is indifferent to the state’s problems. Joe Garofoli, San Francisco Chronicle, "Provocative GOP ad maker tries to transform Gavin Newsom rival John Cox into a 'beast'," 4 May 2021 While your instinct to be upset about Ella’s playing video games during the day is understandable, the situation doesn’t necessarily mean that Ella’s mother is indifferent to Ella’s homework. Brian Platzer, The Atlantic, "Homeroom: When Divorced Parents Have Different Rules," 27 Apr. 2021 Attorney Marilyn Mosby said police are indifferent to Black lives. Tim Prudente, baltimoresun.com, "In West Baltimore, a verdict and impending reforms stir memories of injustice and hope for better police relations," 24 Apr. 2021 From those who either agree with Georgia’s new law or who are indifferent but just don’t want to see sports stepping into politics. Shawn Windsor, Detroit Free Press, "Politics and sports are forever intertwined; MLB pulling All-Star Game latest example," 4 Apr. 2021 Bradford Colbert, who teaches at Mitchell Hamline and is a part-time public defender, agreed the defense is likely to argue that Chauvin wasn't indifferent to Floyd, but was distracted. Rochelle Olson, Star Tribune, "Chauvin trial lawyers bring everything together in closing arguments on Floyd's death," 17 Apr. 2021 But some parents say NICA is indifferent to their fears, anxieties and depression, and hostile to their needs. Carol Marbin Miller, ProPublica, "When Births Go Horribly Wrong, Florida Protects Doctors and Forces Families to Pay the Price," 8 Apr. 2021 Unfortunately, though, the laws of geophysics are indifferent to politics. Elizabeth Kolbert, The New Yorker, "Biden’s Jobs Plan Is Also a Climate Plan. Will It Make a Difference?," 4 Apr. 2021

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.

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First Known Use of indifferent

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4

History and Etymology for 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

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Time Traveler for indifferent

Time Traveler

The first known use of indifferent was in the 14th century

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Statistics for indifferent

Last Updated

15 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Indifferent.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/indifferent. Accessed 17 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for indifferent

indifferent

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of indifferent

: not interested in or concerned about something
: neither good nor bad : not very good

indifferent

adjective
in·​dif·​fer·​ent | \ in-ˈdi-fə-rənt How to pronounce indifferent (audio) , -ˈdi-frənt \

Kids Definition of indifferent

1 : not interested or concerned about something She's indifferent about your problems.
2 : neither good nor bad an indifferent performance

Other Words from indifferent

indifferently adverb

indifferent

adjective
in·​dif·​fer·​ent | \ in-ˈdif-ərnt, -ˈdif-(ə-)rent How to pronounce indifferent (audio) \

Medical Definition of indifferent

1 : having or exhibiting a lack of affect, concern, or care
2a : not differentiated indifferent tissues of the human body
b : capable of development in more than one direction especially : not yet embryologically determined

Other Words from indifferent

indifferently adverb

Comments on indifferent

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