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

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 (as well as the adjective insouciant) from the French around the early 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 on to something. 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 Her hard-right activism on so many matters that come before the Court, up to and including the condition of our democracy, and his hand-waving insouciance about it all, have done huge damage to the Supreme Court’s reputation. Michael Tomasky, The New Republic, 28 Mar. 2022 Some of Hollywood’s youngest ingénues were embracing the breezy insouciance of a white shirt, too. Vogue, 27 Mar. 2022 The result has personality to burn, embracing violence, sexuality and an all-around kind of insouciance that rivals fellow doodler Bill Plympton. Peter Debruge, Variety, 25 Mar. 2022 Opt for ample volume, black ribbon, and an air of insouciance—or make like Emily and replace said nonchalance with ready enthusiasm. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, 16 Dec. 2021 Zendaya, who won an Emmy for her portrayal of Rue in the show’s first season, continues to excel, finding new ways to embody her character’s erratic shifts from elation to cruelty, insouciance to anger. Lovia Gyarkye, The Hollywood Reporter, 9 Jan. 2022 As if on cue, a groggy-looking Lee—now fifty-two, but carrying an ageless insouciance that has graced his entire career—ventured shirtless downstairs to investigate the commotion before promptly returning to his bedroom. Dennis Zhou, The New Yorker, 28 Aug. 2021 Her dry wit and sensible insouciance would really help a lot in the humor department. Meredith Blake, Los Angeles Times, 10 Dec. 2021 Although the cows exhibit an easy insouciance, people taking the tour depend on fresh air when gray water from the waste collection pond, part of the sustainable dairy’s wastewater recycling system, is released to wash the barn floor. oregonlive, 6 Nov. 2021 See More

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.

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

Learn More About insouciance

Time Traveler for insouciance

Time Traveler

The first known use of insouciance was in 1799

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast About insouciance

Dictionary Entries Near insouciance




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for insouciance

Last Updated

29 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Insouciance.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on insouciance

Nglish: Translation of insouciance for Spanish Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Eponyms: Words Named After People

How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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