in·​dis·​crim·​i·​nate | \ ˌin-di-ˈskrim-nət How to pronounce indiscriminate (audio) , -ˈskri-mə- \

Definition of indiscriminate

1a : not marked by careful distinction : deficient in discrimination and discernment indiscriminate reading habits indiscriminate mass destruction
b : haphazard, random indiscriminate application of a law
2a : promiscuous, unrestrained indiscriminate sexual behavior
b : heterogeneous, motley an indiscriminate collection

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Other Words from indiscriminate

indiscriminately adverb
indiscriminateness noun

Examples of indiscriminate in a Sentence

They participated in the indiscriminate slaughter of countless innocent victims. He objects to the indiscriminate use of pesticides. She has been indiscriminate in choosing her friends.
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Recent Examples on the Web Opponents: Bill creates 'indiscriminate incarceration' The proposal generated more than two hours of questions and testimony, including from some of those survivors. Maria Polletta, azcentral, "Amid overdose crisis, Arizona lawmakers want to punish possession of heroin, fentanyl with 5 years in prison," 23 Jan. 2020 Nationwide, there were 53 indiscriminate mass shootings in public areas during that time, and all but three involved male suspects. Phillip Reese, Los Angeles Times, "When masculinity turns ‘toxic’: A gender profile of mass shootings," 7 Oct. 2019 Western hazard burns are indiscriminate, while cultural burns are specific: timed to coordinate with the seasons, animal breeding times plant seeding times. Aarti Betigeri, Time, "How Australia's Indigenous Experts Could Help Deal With Devastating Wildfires," 14 Jan. 2020 The gunfire is often indiscriminate, analysts say, but extremists have targeted men for wearing crosses and Muslim leaders who do not follow their rules., "DAKAR, Senegal — Gunmen launched yet another attack on a church service in the West African nation of Burkina Faso, killing 14 people and wounding several others in the small eastern town of Hantoukoura.," 3 Dec. 2019 The gunfire is often indiscriminate, analysts say, but extremists have targeted men for wearing crosses and Muslim leaders who do not follow their rules. Danielle Paquette, Washington Post, "Gunmen massacre 14 Christians during Protestant service in Burkina Faso," 2 Dec. 2019 In the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December 2012, Congress moved to designate a mass killing as three or more deaths in a single incident that was both intentional and indiscriminate. Elizabeth Métraux, STAT, "Health care providers are unrecognized victims of mass killings. We’re doing little to support them," 3 Jan. 2020 What started in 2009 as an indiscriminate campaign of terror against Muslims and Christians alike has in recent times seemed more targeted. Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo, Quartz Africa, "An Islamic State Christmas killing of 11 hostages in Nigeria threatens to flare up religious tensions," 28 Dec. 2019 The police’s use of tear gas has been criticized as indiscriminate and excessive, with canisters fired in subway stations and from perches above crowds. New York Times, "Hong Kong Police, Seen as ‘Hounds After Rabbits,’ Face Rising Rage," 1 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'indiscriminate.' 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 indiscriminate

circa 1598, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Time Traveler for indiscriminate

Time Traveler

The first known use of indiscriminate was circa 1598

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Statistics for indiscriminate

Last Updated

18 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Indiscriminate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for indiscriminate


How to pronounce indiscriminate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of indiscriminate

: affecting or harming many people or things in a careless or unfair way
: not careful in making choices


in·​dis·​crim·​i·​nate | \ ˌin-di-ˈskri-mə-nət How to pronounce indiscriminate (audio) \

Kids Definition of indiscriminate

: not done in a careful way : wrongly causing widespread harm They objected to the indiscriminate use of pesticides.

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