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 This was apparently indiscriminate shelling, killing unarmed civilians. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, "A Nobel Peace Laureate and Horror in Ethiopia," 22 Mar. 2021 His indiscriminate use of the move, too often coming after a good individual play is made when his team is hopelessly behind, has turned many fans off. David Moore, Dallas News, "Hope for Jaylon Smith’s departure speaks more to his standing with fans than it does the Cowboys’ intention," 22 Mar. 2021 But my research showed that the circulation of Indian films in Tamale was not indiscriminate. Katie Young, Quartz, "Why Indian films and TV shows have found a second home in Ghana," 20 Mar. 2021 Per Ars Technica, the team theorizes that an abrupt population increase, a change in the local climate or a sudden decline in resources may have sparked the indiscriminate mass murder. Isis Davis-marks, Smithsonian Magazine, "Analysis of 6,200-Year-Old Grave Raises New Questions About Neolithic Massacre," 17 Mar. 2021 The Groundhog Day setup powerfully spotlights and indicts the inescapable weight of police brutality on Black youth, with a particular emphasis on its indiscriminate nature; despite being wealthy, Tunde still has a target firmly fixed on his back. Liam Hess, Vogue, "The Obituary of Tunde Johnson," 5 Mar. 2021 While there were degrees of bloodletting, indiscriminate selling meant nothing was spared. Mellody Hobson And John W. Rogers Jr., WSJ, "How to Understand This Crazy Year in Investing—and What to Do Now," 11 Dec. 2020 The model also suggested an effect involving death and time: for species with short lives, the indiscriminate approach might be the best use of time, maximizing odds of at least one success. Emily Willingham, Scientific American, "When Same-Sex Mating Makes Reproductive Sense," 3 Dec. 2020 Interest in end-to-end encryption has mushroomed over the past decade, particularly with revelations from Edward Snowden of indiscriminate spying of electronic communications by the NSA. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Google is testing end-to-end encryption in Android Messages," 19 Nov. 2020

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

5 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Indiscriminate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for indiscriminate



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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