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 The indiscriminate virus has caused dozens of government officials around the world -- from administrators to heads of state -- to take precautionary measures after finding that they have been infected or have been in contact with infected people. Angela Dewan, CNN, "The coronavirus has officials running the world from home," 12 Mar. 2020 Even if the malware isn't targeting medical devices in particular, operating system vulnerabilities still put devices at risk for infection by any indiscriminate worm that infects all manner of networked computers. Lily Hay Newman, Wired, "Most Medical Imaging Devices Run Outdated Operating Systems," 10 Mar. 2020 Hundreds of civilians have been killed in the region in recent weeks in what human rights groups describe as indiscriminate air and artillery strikes that frequently target civilian areas. Sarah Dadouch,, "Russia, Turkey agree to cease-fire in Syria’s Idlib province," 5 Mar. 2020 Specifically, people’s rights to privacy and data protection were being violated by the general and indiscriminate retention of their electronic communications data. David Meyer, Fortune, "Post-Brexit U.K.’s surveillance practices could spell big problems for business," 7 Feb. 2020 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

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

17 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Indiscriminate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Mar. 2020.

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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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