in·​sou·​ci·​ance | \in-ˈsü-sē-ən(t)s, aⁿ-süs-ˈyäⁿs \

Definition of insouciance 

: lighthearted unconcern : nonchalance

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Other Words from insouciance

insouciant \ in-​ˈsü-​sē-​ənt , aⁿ-​süs-​ˈyäⁿ \ adjective
insouciantly \ in-​ˈsü-​sē-​ənt-​lē \ adverb

Did You Know?

Don't worry - be insouciant. Perhaps your mind will rest easier if we explain that English speakers learned "insouciance" from the French in the 1700s (and the adjective "insouciant" has been part of our language since the 1800s). The French word comes from a combination of the negative prefix in- and soucier, meaning "to trouble or disturb." "Soucier" in turn traces to "sollicitus," the Latin word for "anxious." If it seems to you that "sollicitus" looks a lot like some other English words you've seen, you're right. That root also gave us "solicit" (which now means "to entreat" but which was once used to mean "to fill with concern or anxiety"), "solicitude" (meaning "uneasiness of mind"), and "solicitous" ("showing or expressing concern").

Examples of insouciance in a Sentence

wandered into the meeting with complete insouciance to the fact that she was late

Recent Examples on the Web

There’s a kind of insouciance to the season that is catching. Vanessa Friedman, New York Times, "How I Learned to Stop Complaining and Love the Cruise Collections," 28 June 2018 The childless French president came face-to-face with teen insouciance at the Mont Valérien fort outside of Paris, a memorial for French Resistance fighters who died in World War II. Kenzie Bryant, Vanities, "Emmanuel Macron Finally Got to Play Father to a Bratty Teen," 19 June 2018 The ensemble exuded carefree insouciance and managed to look polished without feeling overdone, which is never a good look, no matter what the season. Maria Ward, Vogue, "How Sienna Miller Moves the Bedroom Slipper to the Street," 5 June 2018 Fix it, don’t nix it Or take the insouciance with which the likes of Mr Bolton and his Russian counterparts condemn the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. The Economist, "Despite North Korea, arms control is unravelling," 5 May 2018 One reason for market insouciance is that a crisis is unlikely to infect other economies: foreigners hold only around 30% of the government’s bonds these days. The Economist, "How Milan’s voters opted for the losers," 26 Apr. 2018 Silicon Valley has a long habit of political insouciance—will culminate at the Supreme Court on April 25, when Katyal argues against the administration in the case Trump v. Hawaii. Lizette Chapman,, "Neal Katyal Runs a Legal SWAT Team to Combat President Trump," 9 Apr. 2018 The look has an inherent insouciance, a bohemian vibe that feels ideal for that first chill of fall—or early spring? Kerry Pieri, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kate Moss is Making the Blanket As Coat Happen," 16 May 2014 Last night, the actress elevated her rumpled waves with thoughtful—and playful—additions that proved insouciance is an attitude, not simply an unstudied aesthetic ease. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, "Marion Cotillard Takes Femme Fatale Blonde to a Bold New Place in Paris," 16 Jan. 2018

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

1799, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for insouciance

French, from in- + soucier to trouble, disturb, from Old French, from Latin sollicitare — more at solicit

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Time Traveler for insouciance

The first known use of insouciance was in 1799

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English Language Learners Definition of insouciance

: a relaxed and calm state : a feeling of not worrying about anything

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