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

Definition of insouciance

: lighthearted unconcern : nonchalance

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from insouciance

insouciant \ in-​ˈsü-​sē-​ənt How to pronounce insouciant (audio) , aⁿ-​süs-​ˈyäⁿ \ adjective
insouciantly \ in-​ˈsü-​sē-​ənt-​lē How to pronounce insouciantly (audio) \ 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

On this tune the tenor saxophonist Chad Lefkowitz-Brown improvises with a combination of breezy insouciance and sharp rhythmic assurance. Jon Pareles, New York Times, "The Playlist: The 1975 Talk About Its Generation, and 9 More New Songs," 1 June 2018 Key elements of '70's jet set style: insouciance, and a headscarf. Veronique Hyland, Harper's BAZAAR, "Tie One On With Ferragamo's New Headscarves," 18 Jan. 2011 To wit: the colorful stripes on Céline's classic luggage tote for the resort season, which has all the laidback insouciance of the Me Decade in a look that's completely right now. Kerry Pieri, Harper's BAZAAR, "We're Obsessed: Celine Stripes," 4 Nov. 2014 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

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about insouciance

Listen to Our Podcast about insouciance

Dictionary Entries near insouciance








Statistics for insouciance

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for insouciance

The first known use of insouciance was in 1799

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for insouciance



English Language Learners Definition of insouciance

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on insouciance

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with insouciance

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for insouciance

Nglish: Translation of insouciance for Spanish Speakers

Comments on insouciance

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


behavior toward others

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!