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 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 Over the next two years, the occupation would escalate from mandatory Japanese classes to indiscriminate massacres. National Geographic, "In WWII, the Japanese invaded Guam. Now they’re welcomed as tourists.," 13 Dec. 2019 Many school shooters don't fit the stereotype of the indiscriminate teenage killer. Author: John Woodrow Cox, Anchorage Daily News, "Underage killers test limits of justice system," 25 Nov. 2019 Its title alluded to the loss of twittering birds from natural habitats because of indiscriminate pesticide use, and the treatise spawned the modern conservation movement. Jim Daley, Scientific American, "Silent Skies: Billions of North American Birds Have Vanished," 19 Sep. 2019 No child deserves to have their promising life cut short, especially by indiscriminate and senseless gun violence. Caroline Linton, CBS News, "10-year-old dies days after being shot at New Jersey football game," 20 Nov. 2019 Using the hashtag #cougarornot, LaRue posts a photo someone has sent her of a feline of indiscriminate origin, asking her followers to guess the species in the photo. Liz Langley, National Geographic, "Cougar or not? Why we think we see big cats in our backyards.," 18 Nov. 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

21 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Indiscriminate.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 27 January 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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Comments on indiscriminate

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one that suddenly gains wealth or power

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