indifferent

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

Definition of indifferent

1 : marked by impartiality : unbiased
2a : that does not matter one way or the other
b : of no importance or value one way or the other
3a : 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
5a : 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
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

Certainly millions of Americans are indifferent to the decline of organized religion, or even welcome it. Ericka Andersen, WSJ, "Is God the Answer to the Suicide Epidemic?," 11 July 2019 Through it all, couples like Ciara and Russell Williams, Jada and Will Smith and Erica and Warryn Campbell have never hid the good, bad or indifferent about their relationships. Jasmine Grant, Essence, "8 Celebrity Couples Who Aren't Afraid To Be Open About Their Relationships," 13 June 2019 And my heart was not yet indifferent to the shabby jargon of hope. Lynn Freed, Harper's magazine, "We Were So Happy Then," 10 Mar. 2019 Too often Washington has cozied up to dictators, embraced moral equivalency in international human-rights institutions, and appeared indifferent to struggles for liberty around the world. Aaron Rhodes, WSJ, "Pompeo Tries to Rescue the Idea of Human Rights," 10 June 2019 Buena Vista has a long history of arresting and harassing Lipton because city leaders are indifferent to his civil rights including on Oct. 27, 2016, when an officer cited him for flipping off a passing motorist, the lawsuit said. Kirk Mitchell, The Denver Post, "Coast Guard vet who gives the bird to Buena Vista cops and townspeople has been arrested multiple times for it. Now, he’s suing the city.," 4 June 2019 West of the Blue Ridge Mountains, whites were much more indifferent toward or even opposed to slavery — leading to the eventual separation of West Virginia during the Civil War. Gregory S. Schneider, Washington Post, "Virginia debated ending slavery after Nat Turner’s revolt," 14 June 2019 South Korea, meanwhile, find themselves in similarly indifferent form. SI.com, "Women's World Cup - Matchday 6 Preview: How to Watch, Live Stream, Team News & More," 10 June 2019 This coalition of mothers believes the epidemic is unfolding much like AIDS did, with a society indifferent toward people believed to have brought their deaths upon themselves. Claire Galofaro, The Seattle Times, "Moms of the dead from drugs: “Where is the outrage for us?”," 29 Jan. 2019

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 1

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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Statistics for indifferent

Last Updated

18 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for indifferent

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

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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

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Comments on indifferent

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