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

Definition of indolent

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

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Other Words from indolent

indolently adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for indolent



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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 Indeed, this was one of Alexis de Tocqueville’s many criticisms of the indolent slavers of the Old South. Cameron Hilditch, National Review, 29 May 2021 The countess also casts her indolent spell on the resolute state prosecutor Norbert von Wenk (Bernhard Goetzke), who doggedly pursues Mabuse until he is hypnotized by the master to drive a speeding death car. J. Hoberman, New York Times, 6 May 2020 Among men with an elevated PSA who are found on biopsy to have cancer, about 80 percent have an indolent form of the disease that is highly unlikely to become life-threatening. New York Times, 24 Feb. 2020 This approach results in the diagnosis of many fewer indolent cancers that would likely never threaten a man’s life, said Dr. Klotz, a professor of surgery at the University of Toronto and a mentor in the field of prostate cancer diagnosis. New York Times, 2 Mar. 2020 The disease can be indolent, which spreads slowly with few signs and symptoms, or aggressive, which spreads quickly with severe symptoms, the institute said. Madeline Holcombe, CNN, 16 Jan. 2020 In fact, many people harbor indolent forms of cancer that do not actually pose a risk to their health. Christie Aschwanden, Wired, 10 Jan. 2020 Though pancreatic cancer has a reputation as an aggressive and fast-moving disease, Dr. Simeone said some subtypes are indolent and slow-growing. New York Times, 23 Aug. 2019 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,, 18 July 2019

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 2a

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

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The first known use of indolent was in 1663

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Last Updated

15 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Indolent.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for indolent



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 indolent (audio) \ noun


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