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 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 Over 18 tracks, Koenig and company work through the sophistication that defeats us, experimenting with assorted song styles — plus high-information worldliness — without losing the insouciance of their eponymous 2007 debut. Armond White, National Review, "Vampire Weekend Makes the Best Pop-Political Album of the Year," 10 Dec. 2019 But here, their empathetic teamwork lacks the bawdy insouciance of the Dolemite films and the Moore-Reed comedy albums. Armond White, National Review, "Dolemite Is My Name Honors a Surprising Cultural Pioneer," 8 Nov. 2019 The insouciance of regional governments, especially Brazil’s, puts them on a collision course with the church. The Economist, "Power in the Catholic church is shifting south and exposing divisions," 24 Oct. 2019 At the play’s center is Pharus, a gay student at the Charles R. Drew Preparatory School for Boys, who is played by Isaiah Reynolds with a blend of insouciance and vulnerability., "CHOIR BOY," 18 Sep. 2019 Bugatti’s Chiron just hit 305—but few vroom with the insouciance of the Taycan, a testament to Porsche’s holistic design and engineering process. Wired, "Porsche's Taycan Is the Best Electric Car $150,000 Can Buy," 28 Sep. 2019 Oil’s x-factor has been lost, as current insouciance in the face of rising geopolitical tensions captures, making energy just another sector competing among many. Washington Post, "Oil Companies Are Unpopular Because They’re Introverts," 20 Sep. 2019 What has changed very little over the years is Ms. Roitfeld’s lightly mannered insouciance. New York Times, "Is the Celebrity Editor Becoming Extinct?," 7 Sep. 2019 Environmentalists blame Mr Bolsonaro’s insouciance about the Amazon. The Economist, "Deforestation in the Amazon may soon begin to feed on itself," 15 Aug. 2019

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

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The first known use of insouciance was in 1799

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Last Updated

9 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Insouciance.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 19 January 2020.

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More Definitions for insouciance


How to pronounce insouciance (audio) How to pronounce insouciance (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of insouciance

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on insouciance

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for insouciance

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with insouciance

Nglish: Translation of insouciance for Spanish Speakers

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to insert between existing elements

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