neglect

1 of 2

verb

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

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.
neglecter noun

neglect

2 of 2

noun

1
: an act or instance of neglecting something
2
: the condition of being neglected
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
Taking a breather from managing your business is often neglected but could do wonders that would reflect on your personal leadership skills. Pavel Stepanov, Forbes, 15 Feb. 2024 Management neglected to address problems on the factory floor and the causes of the cheating were complex, Sato said. Yuri Kageyama, Quartz, 13 Feb. 2024 But the authors also point out that researchers shouldn’t neglect the need to consider that in sports, performance is also affected by the adversarial nature of competition. Tom Siegfried, Smithsonian Magazine, 13 Feb. 2024 Sometimes, though, the going out top feels neglected. Hannah Jackson, Vogue, 12 Feb. 2024 Ending child poverty, for example, can be measured in part by how many kids enter foster care due to neglect. Erin Cox, Washington Post, 9 Feb. 2024 As business leaders scramble to keep up, many neglect to involve a key stakeholder group in their decision making: employees. Paige McGlauflin, Fortune, 6 Feb. 2024 In the last few months, parents whose children carried out gun violence in other states have pleaded guilty to charges of reckless conduct or neglect, part of a push by some prosecutors to hold parents accountable when they are suspected of enabling deadly violence by their children. Jacey Fortin, New York Times, 6 Feb. 2024 The felony charges allege that neglect by the defendants directly resulted in two toddler girls — 18-month-old Payton Cobb, of Hollister, and 16-month-old Lillian Hanan, of San Jose — ending up in a pool at the Happy Happy Home Daycare on Fleetwood Drive the morning of Oct. 2. Robert Salonga, The Mercury News, 1 Feb. 2024
Noun
She’s charged with two counts of Class A felony child abuse or neglect and two counts of felony child endangerment. Kendrick Calfee, Kansas City Star, 10 Feb. 2024 In December 2023, the Texas Commission on Jail Standards placed the Giles W. Dalby Correctional Facility in noncompliance for medical neglect and other violations. Noah Alcala Bach, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 9 Feb. 2024 Rates of child abuse and neglect are five times as high in poor families. Trip Gabriel, New York Times, 8 Feb. 2024 The annual event helps benefit Janie's Fund — a non-profit Steven created to help girls who have experienced abuse and neglect. Ingrid Vasquez, Peoplemag, 5 Feb. 2024 But county school boards can remove superintendents from office earlier for immorality, misconduct in office, insubordination, incompetency or willful neglect of duty, according to Maryland law. Nicole Asbury, Washington Post, 22 Jan. 2024 Police arrested Griffith, charging her with neglect of a dependent resulting in serious bodily injury, according to court documents. Mike Stunson, Kansas City Star, 1 Feb. 2024 The fragile central government is still struggling to assert itself after the nationwide chaos that began with the fall of dictator Siad Barre in 1991, when public facilities fell into neglect or were destroyed. Omar Faruk, The Christian Science Monitor, 26 Jan. 2024 County records show that a Child Welfare Services investigation attributed the girl’s death to child abuse and neglect. Teri Figueroa, San Diego Union-Tribune, 18 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'neglect.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Verb

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."

Noun

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

First Known Use

Verb

1529, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1597, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of neglect was in 1529

Dictionary Entries Near neglect

Cite this Entry

“Neglect.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/neglect. Accessed 24 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

neglect

1 of 2 verb
ne·​glect ni-ˈglekt How to pronounce neglect (audio)
1
: to give little attention or respect to
neglected their garden
2
: to leave undone or not attended to especially through carelessness
don't neglect to feed the fish
neglecter noun

neglect

2 of 2 noun
1
: an act or instance of neglecting something
his neglect of important responsibilities
2
: the condition of being neglected
the stone wall was collapsing from years of neglect

Legal Definition

neglect

noun
ne·​glect
: 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
neglect transitive verb
neglectful adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on neglect

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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