ne·​glect | \ ni-ˈglekt How to pronounce neglect (audio) \
neglected; neglecting; neglects

Definition of neglect

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to give little attention or respect to : disregard The building has been neglected for years.
2 : to leave undone or unattended to especially through carelessness The prison guard neglected his duty.



Definition of neglect (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an act or instance of neglecting something
2 : the condition of being neglected

Other Words from neglect


neglecter noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for neglect

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Noun

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Choose the Right Synonym for neglect


neglect, disregard, ignore, overlook, slight, forget mean to pass over without giving due attention. neglect implies giving insufficient attention to something that merits one's attention. habitually neglected his studies disregard suggests voluntary inattention. disregarded the wishes of his family ignore implies a failure to regard something obvious. ignored the snide remark overlook suggests disregarding or ignoring through haste or lack of care. in my rush I overlooked a key example slight implies contemptuous or disdainful disregarding or omitting. slighted several major authors in her survey forget may suggest either a willful ignoring or a failure to impress something on one's mind. forget what others say

Examples of neglect in a Sentence

Verb The building has been neglected for years. The city has neglected the teacher shortage for too long. The prison guard neglected his duty. Noun The park was overgrown and littered from years of neglect. The parents were charged with child neglect. The house is in a state of neglect. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The Turpin siblings had experienced severe and long-term abuse and neglect by their parents. Itzel Luna, Los Angeles Times, 8 July 2022 Each of my four siblings came from different homes, races, ethnicities, and unfortunate circumstances of abuse and neglect as well as varying disabilities. Jill Griffin, Forbes, 28 June 2022 From July 2019 to June 2020, Child Welfare Services received 38,653 hotline reports of abuse or neglect, representing nearly 69,000 children. Teri Figueroa, San Diego Union-Tribune, 23 June 2022 The Times also reported allegations of abuse and neglect against Balkin, who took her life days later. Tatiana Siegel, Rolling Stone, 14 June 2022 The lawsuit alleges she was required to notify police, specifically the high school's liaison officer, of the possibility that Crumbley was a victim of child abuse and neglect and posed a risk to himself and others. ABC News, 24 May 2022 Each of the women — Jaime, Kristin and Darnell — were charged with one count of abuse and neglect among other charges with at least $60,000 bond. Elaine Aradillas,, 9 May 2022 Raise awareness about child abuse and neglect and sign up for prevention training with Children's Wisconsin at Bob Dohr, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 15 Apr. 2022 The United Nations added Cyrene to the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites in 1982 and it has been classified as a location that is particularly endangered due to neglect and looting since 2016. Yousef Murad, USA TODAY, 1 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun At least 25 states already classify drug use during pregnancy as child abuse or neglect, according to a 2019 study by Dr. Laura Faherty, a researcher and pediatrics professor at Boston University. Jeff Amy, ajc, 30 July 2022 At least 25 states already classify drug use during pregnancy as child abuse or neglect, according to a 2019 study by Dr. Laura Faherty, a researcher and pediatrics professor at Boston University. Jeff Amy, al, 30 July 2022 Most children who are in Kentucky's foster care system have been removed from homes because of abuse or neglect. Caleb Stultz, The Courier-Journal, 20 July 2022 Among his claims: Nearly 100 cases of child abuse and neglect were misplaced and languished for months, leaving some children stuck in abusive or neglectful situations with no investigation. Deborah Yetter, The Enquirer, 13 July 2022 The facility had housed only male detainees for years, but ICE began holding women there in late 2020, several months after accusations of high rates of hysterectomies and medical neglect surfaced at another Georgia detention facility. Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN, 14 July 2022 Then the inevitable consequences of this neglect catch up to them. Steve Haase, Forbes, 12 July 2022 With the current commissioner set to leave in November, now is the perfect time for the Biden administration to strengthen the IRS after years of congressional and presidential neglect. Matt Ford, The New Republic, 8 July 2022 Child abuse and neglect cases rose at alarming rates following the pandemic, Kelley said. Gloria Casas,, 7 Apr. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'neglect.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of neglect


1529, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1597, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for neglect


borrowed from Latin neglēctus, past participle of neglegere, neclegere "to disregard, do nothing about, fail to care for," from nec "not" (probably from ne- "not" + -ce, deictic element, going back to Indo-European *ḱe, *ḱi) + legere "to gather, select, read" — more at no entry 1, he entry 1, legend

Note: The Latin formative nec in this word and (with invariable voicing) in negō, negāre "to deny" (see negate) and negōtium "business, difficulty" (see negotiate) is presumably identical with Old Latin nec "not" and distinct from nec as a reduced form of neque "and not."


borrowed from Latin neglēctus, from neglegere, neclegere "to disregard, do nothing about, neglect entry 1" + -tus, suffix of verbal action

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The first known use of neglect was in 1529

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Last Updated

28 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Neglect.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for neglect


ne·​glect | \ ni-ˈglekt How to pronounce neglect (audio) \
neglected; neglecting

Kids Definition of neglect

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to fail to give the right amount of attention to The property has been neglected.
2 : to fail to do or look after especially because of carelessness She neglected to say goodbye.



Kids Definition of neglect (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : lack of attention or care to something or someone neglect of duty
2 : the state of not being looked after or given attention The house suffers from neglect.

Choose the Right Synonym for neglect


neglect and disregard mean to pass over something without giving it any or enough attention. neglect is used when a person does not give, whether deliberately or not, enough attention to something that deserves or requires attention. You have been neglecting your homework. disregard is used for deliberately overlooking something usually because it is not considered worth noticing. He disregarded the "keep out" sign.



Legal Definition of neglect

: a disregard of duty resulting from carelessness, indifference, or willfulness especially : a failure to provide a child under one's care with proper food, clothing, shelter, supervision, medical care, or emotional stability — compare abuse sense 2, negligence

Other Words from neglect

neglect transitive verb
neglectful adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on neglect

Nglish: Translation of neglect for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of neglect for Arabic Speakers


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