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

As indiscriminate killing swept the country, tens of thousands of people escaped to Uganda. Nina Strochlic, National Geographic, "In Uganda, a unique urban experiment is under way," 17 June 2019 The regime also switched to the indiscriminate use of airpower. Muhammad Idrees Ahmad, The New York Review of Books, "How Assad Made Truth a Casualty of War," 7 Sep. 2018 The seemingly indiscriminate violence of their crimes, along with the nail-biting cat-and-mouse game between the teenagers and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, has shocked Canada, which prides itself on its sensible gun laws and liberal humanism. Dan Bilefsky, New York Times, "Hometown of Canadian Teenage Murder Suspects Grapples With Infamy," 13 Aug. 2019 This indiscriminate bombardment, followed by the use of a blockade and siege to starve civilians, began to turn Aleppo into a city of the dead, which was the intended effect. Brian Stewart, National Review, "For Sama: A Chronicle of the Syrian Tragedy," 10 Aug. 2019 Venezuela’s Foreign Ministry also issued a statement suggesting that its citizens ‘‘postpone travel’’ to the US in light of ‘‘violence and indiscriminate hate crimes.’’ The US has warned its citizens against any travel to Venezuela., "Uruguay, Venezuela tell their citizens not to travel to US in light of ‘hate crimes’," 5 Aug. 2019 Some vets say the behavior also may be a mild compulsive disorder or linked to pica, which is the eating of indiscriminate objects. Cathy Rosenthal,, "Pet World: Dog suddenly attacking his longtime friend," 1 Aug. 2019 Multiple shots were fired in an indiscriminate manner that took the lives of 3 individuals, including a 6-year-old boy. Linda Zavoral, The Mercury News, "Christopher Ranch Garlic statement: ‘Gilroy to persevere’," 29 July 2019 The strategies funded would be neither brutal nor indiscriminate and should enjoy the strong support of the communities directly affected by them. Thomas Abt,, "Democrats are skipping out on the most important gun fight of all," 19 July 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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Statistics for indiscriminate

Last Updated

2 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for indiscriminate

The first known use of indiscriminate was circa 1598

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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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Comments on indiscriminate

What made you want to look up indiscriminate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to make a temporary encampment

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