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

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Other Words from neglect


neglecter noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for neglect

Synonyms: Verb

bypass, disregard, forget, ignore, overlook, overpass, pass over, slight, slur (over)

Synonyms: Noun

desolation, dilapidation, disrepair, seediness

Antonyms: Verb

attend (to), heed, mind, regard, tend (to)

Antonyms: Noun

keeping, repair

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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


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.

Examples of neglect in a Sentence


The building has been neglected for years. The city has neglected the teacher shortage for too long. The prison guard neglected his duty.


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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Now as much as any time in the past, there is an underclass, people who are neglected or forgotten in society, and are despised. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Why Les Misérables's Dominic West Thinks Jean Valjean Is a Better Hero Than Spiderman," 15 Apr. 2019 So, doesn't neglecting to bolster boys along with the girls, by this logic, actually limit their potential? Christine Michel Carter, Harper's BAZAAR, "How Feminism Is Stifling Our Sons," 22 Feb. 2019 Helping Hands Assistants are the unsung heroes of the salon industry—and some of the most neglected. Megan Mcintyre, Glamour, "What No One Tells You About Tipping at the Hair Salon," 12 Dec. 2018 Mother Teresa experiences divine inspiration as torment, first the acute agony of voices that compel her to care for the poor and sick, then the worse pain of silence, an absence that abandons her to the fate of the most neglected on earth. Irene Hsiao, Chicago Reader, "The four plays that make up Stories of the Body plumb the depths of women’s experience," 30 May 2018 Under this law, no employer can fire or threaten to fire a worker for organizing or joining a union or being pro-union, something that many bosses neglect to tell said workers during efforts at union-busting. Kim Kelly, Teen Vogue, "Freelancers Want to Join Unions but Labor Laws Won't Let Them," 4 Apr. 2019 For Lampard to pass this off as a cultural import, for instance, is to neglect English soccer’s own proud history with the practice. Joshua Robinson, WSJ, "On His Manager’s Secret Service: Espionage Comes to English Soccer," 15 Jan. 2019 California has been my home for a decade, and my heart bleeds for all of those who have lost their homes, our fearless warriors who have been tirelessly trying to stop these fires, and animals who have been neglected and displaced. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Who Is Sara Dinkin? Everything You Need to Know About Kristen Stewart's New Girlfriend," 26 Dec. 2018 Applying a white face mask made with what could be clay, Grande treated herself to a clearing and hydrating skincare step that is often neglected during busy times. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Ariana Grande Drops Her New “Imagine” Single While Gift Wrapping—And Face Masking—On Instagram," 14 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The Fafsa Fairness Act of 2019, for example, would ease the financial-aid application process for students dealing with situations such as parental abandonment, abuse and neglect. Cheryl Winokur Munk, WSJ, "What Students Can Do if Parents Can’t—or Won’t—Fill Out College-Aid Forms," 3 Mar. 2019 Rajcinoski stands accused of 11 counts of felony animal mutilation and 72 counts of animal neglect. Carrie Napoleon, Post-Tribune, "Animal neglect trial moved to September," 22 Mar. 2018 After the department investigated the teacher, Hahn informed parents that the school fired her on charges of child neglect and endangerment. Marisa Russell, Woman's Day, "Teacher Of The Year Fired Over A Dirty Diaper," 23 Feb. 2015 After years of isolation due to his mother’s neglect and torment at the hands of peers because of his sexuality, Chiron is badly beaten by a high school classmate. Prince Shakur, Teen Vogue, "Frank Ocean, Moonlight, and the New Era of Queer Black Men in Pop Culture," 26 Mar. 2019 Grime, buildup, and months of neglect due to sub-freezing temps likely means your house needs some love. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "Give Your Home a Post-Winter Scrub With This Pressure Washer Sale," 11 Mar. 2019 After years of neglect and rampant poaching, the park was short of wildlife. Nina Sovich, WSJ, "Secret Safaris: Little-Known National Parks in Africa," 22 Feb. 2019 This is about the neglect that continues to put the people of Puerto Rico and their dignity and their livelihood in very difficult circumstances. Jen Ortiz, Marie Claire, "Puerto Rico’s Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto Is Still Mad," 29 Aug. 2018 Camilla Barnes, whose 7-year-old son Jason Brandon attends Henderson Academy in the Detroit Public Schools Community District and sustained the finger injury, cited similar neglect and deception in her son’s case. Jessica Spitz /, NBC News, "Security footage shows assistant principal slamming Detroit boy to ground," 6 July 2018

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.

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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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Statistics for neglect

Last Updated

9 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for neglect

The first known use of neglect was in 1529

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More Definitions for neglect



English Language Learners Definition of neglect

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to fail to take care of or to give attention to (someone or something)
: to fail to do (something)



English Language Learners Definition of neglect (Entry 2 of 2)

: lack of attention or care that someone or something needs
: the condition of not being taken care of


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.



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

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More from Merriam-Webster on neglect

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with neglect

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for neglect

Spanish Central: Translation of neglect

Nglish: Translation of neglect for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of neglect for Arabic Speakers

Comments on neglect

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


a sum of money that is sent as a payment

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