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

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Other Words from insouciance

insouciant \ in-​ˈsü-​sē-​ənt How to pronounce insouciance (audio) , aⁿ-​süs-​ˈyäⁿ \ adjective
insouciantly \ in-​ˈsü-​sē-​ənt-​lē How to pronounce insouciance (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 Tatyana, a senior, plays with the insouciance of someone who’s done this a couple thousand times. Kevin Sherrington, Dallas News, "Queen of the diamond: Tatyana Beltran just wanted to play baseball. She’s doing that and a whole lot more for Adamson," 21 Apr. 2021 If the Fed can justify its insouciance on the inflation front, now would be a good time to make its case to the investment community and the public generally. Milton Ezrati, Forbes, "The Fed Summarily Rejects The Possibility Of Inflation: Itself A Risky Position.," 5 Apr. 2021 Denial has helped establish a level of insouciance from countries such as the United States, Great Britain, and Israel, thereby allowing Turkey to continue to act with impunity. Stephan Pechdimaldji, National Review, "How the Armenian Genocide’s Legacy Explains a Conflict on Pause," 14 Nov. 2020 The forum has not stood still during the Trump administration’s insouciance. John Mcwhorter, Washington Post, "Biden Should ...," 15 Jan. 2021 While each European government has chosen its own level of lockdown, the new restrictions all have something in common: They were imposed suddenly after months of relative official insouciance. Ned Temko, The Christian Science Monitor, "In European COVID-19 seesaw, lessons in patience for America?," 18 Nov. 2020 Over the years, the place became filled with pieces by the likes of Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Georges Braque and Fernand Léger, many of which still hang with an insouciance that belies a top-notch security system, on the scuffed plaster walls. New York Times, "The People James Baldwin Knew," 11 Dec. 2020 Given her appreciation for originality and youthful insouciance, Lind was the right person to carry off Anthony Vaccarello’s daring latex designs. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Saint Laurent Goes Virtual With Gossip Girl’s Newest Star," 15 Dec. 2020 Lyrically, Earle often leaned into dark moments with insouciance and dry humor. Amanda Petrusich, The New Yorker, "The Tragic Charisma of Justin Townes Earle," 24 Aug. 2020

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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The first known use of insouciance was in 1799

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Last Updated

29 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Insouciance.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 May. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of insouciance

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

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