in·​do·​lent | \ ˈin-də-lənt How to pronounce indolent (audio) \

Definition of indolent

1a : causing little or no pain
b : slow to develop or heal indolent tumors indolent ulcers
2a : averse to activity, effort, or movement : habitually lazy
b : conducive to or encouraging laziness indolent heat
c : showing an inclination to laziness an indolent sigh

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Other Words from indolent

indolently adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for indolent


idle, lazy, shiftless, slothful



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Choose the Right Synonym for indolent

lazy, indolent, slothful mean not easily aroused to activity. lazy suggests a disinclination to work or to take trouble. take-out foods for lazy cooks indolent suggests a love of ease and a dislike of movement or activity. the heat made us indolent slothful implies a temperamental inability to act promptly or speedily when action or speed is called for. fired for being slothful about filling orders

Examples of indolent in a Sentence

Perhaps Henry James's idea of the taste for art in England as a "tribute to propriety" holds perversely true, with the indolent taste for scandal and celebrity having taken hold as a bizarre new form of etiquette. — Sebastian Smee, Prospect, July 2003 At home, however, there's something indolent about listening to a record that offers no hope for the unexpected. — John Milward, Rolling Stone, 11–25 July 1991 Air-conditioning is for the weak and indolent. This isn't the Ritz, you know. Be thankful for a little breeze. It was luxuries like A/C that brought down the Roman Empire. — Garrison Keillor, Lake Wobegon Days, (1985) 1986 She is indolent and irresponsible. an indolent boy who had to be forced to help out with the chores
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Recent Examples on the Web

Listed among the seven deadly sins, and used to describe someone who is lazy, indolent and otherwise lackadaisical, sloth takes on a different meaning when one is born — for the first time — at a major South Florida attraction. Doug Phillips,, "Sloth: A bad human trait, but a cutey pie for newborn zoo animal," 18 July 2019 The story’s indolent pacing brings into clear focus moments of cruelty and betrayal. The Atlantic, "What We’re Reading This Summer," 28 June 2019 Summer's too short and its mood is too indolent to make this into a to-do list, but here are some ways to intensify your summer. Polly Campbell,, "Here's what you need to eat (and drink) in Cincinnati this summer," 13 June 2019 Quantities of cracked ice rattled refreshingly in the goblet; sprigs of mint peered above its rim; a mass of white sugar, too sweetly indolent to melt, rested on the mint; and like rose buds on a snow bank, luscious strawberries crowned the sugar. Mark Will-weber, Town & Country, "A Complete History of the Mint Julep," 10 Apr. 2017 While doctors once urged patients to undergo immediate aggressive treatment for early-stage malignancies, many now recommend ‘‘active surveillance,’’ or close monitoring, for indolent cancers. Laurie Mcginley,, "After long decline, death rates from prostate cancer stop falling," 22 May 2018 The myth of the happy, docile, and emotionally indolent slave is historical tripe originally propagated by those who trafficked in human bondage. Phillip Morris,, "Kanye West has a thing or two to learn about American slavery: Phillip Morris," 9 May 2018 That’s why one of the important warning signs of nitrogen deficiency is yellowing, pale green leaves—especially if this chlorosis develops in the oldest leaves—and indolent plant growth despite fine weather. Beth Hanson, Good Housekeeping, "Grow Healthier Crops Using These Natural Nitrogen Sources," 24 Aug. 2015 Suddenly, indolent cells become cancers that spread and kill. Gina Kolata, New York Times, "High-Fat Diet May Fuel Spread of Prostate Cancer," 16 Jan. 2018

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

1663, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for indolent

Late Latin indolent-, indolens insensitive to pain, from Latin in- + dolent-, dolens, present participle of dolēre to feel pain

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Time Traveler for indolent

The first known use of indolent was in 1663

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English Language Learners Definition of indolent

formal : not liking to work or be active


in·​do·​lent | \ ˈin-də-lənt How to pronounce indolent (audio) \

Kids Definition of indolent


in·​do·​lent | \ ˈin-də-lənt How to pronounce indolent (audio) \

Medical Definition of indolent

1 : causing little or no pain an indolent tumor
2a : growing or progressing slowly leprosy is an indolent infectious disease
b : slow to heal an indolent ulcer

Other Words from indolent

indolence \ -​lənt(t)s How to pronounce indolence (audio) \ noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on indolent

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for indolent

Spanish Central: Translation of indolent

Nglish: Translation of indolent for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of indolent for Arabic Speakers

Comments on indolent

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


to wander slowly or to speak indistinctly

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