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

Example Sentences

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
Shelby McCulley, director of Wisconsin Department of Children and Families' Bureau of Youth Services, emphasized that 17-year-olds are still children and the laws surrounding child abuse and neglect still apply to them. Natalie Eilbert, Journal Sentinel, 1 Dec. 2022 Between 2015 and 2021, the Office of the Inspector General for the Illinois Department of Human Services received 1,180 allegations of abuse and neglect at Choate. Beth Hundsdorfer, ProPublica, 10 Oct. 2022 The Greenwich police investigation also resulted in the arrest of a child psychologist who was charged with failing to report child abuse or neglect to authorities, as required by state law. Dave Collins, courant.com, 14 Feb. 2022 In the first years of her life, Sunshine suffered abuse and neglect from her biological family that caused her to be removed from her parents and left her with lifelong scars. Ginny Monk, Hartford Courant, 16 Nov. 2022 Out-of-state criminal background checks are only permitted, DCF said, if the parent is suspected of abuse or neglect, under investigation, or applying or serving as a foster parent. Laura Crimaldi, BostonGlobe.com, 30 Oct. 2022 The state’s watchdog cited dozens of other incidents of abuse and neglect in the same timespan. Chicago Tribune Staff, Chicago Tribune, 21 Oct. 2022 Evidence dogs, which include canines who are victims of abuse or neglect or who are accused of aggressive behavior, were more likely to be confined to their kennels for weeks and sometimes months at a time, a Times review found. Dakota Smith, Los Angeles Times, 8 Oct. 2022 The records show that Johnson’s mother and her five siblings were removed from their home as children because of abuse and neglect allegations in 1986. Cory Shaffer, cleveland, 28 Sep. 2022
Noun
But in many cases, especially when mental health challenges are rooted in childhood neglect or traumatic experiences, these therapies aren’t enough. Laura Newberry, Los Angeles Times, 22 Nov. 2022 After 1989 the message was clear: Virginia’s primary way of interacting with young Black people was through neglect or hostility. Mychal Denzel Smith, The Atlantic, 18 Nov. 2022 The Division of Quality Assurance, part of the state's Department of Health Services, is in charge of investigating incidents of alleged abuse, neglect or exploitation of nursing home residents. Sarah Volpenhein, Journal Sentinel, 2 Nov. 2022 The county government will soon provide about $500 a month to several hundred low-income families deemed at risk for neglect or abuse that would require intervention by the county’s child welfare system. David Garrick, San Diego Union-Tribune, 2 Oct. 2022 To report the abuse, neglect or exploitation of a resident in a long-term care facility, contact the Department of Community Health’s Healthcare Facility Regulation Division at 1-800-878-6442. Henri Hollis, ajc, 14 Sep. 2022 Turner and Morelli appeared in court last week and were arraigned on charges of failure to report abuse, neglect or injury of a child or imminent risk of serious harm to a child, according to court records. Taylor Hartz, Hartford Courant, 12 Sep. 2022 And Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission has reported that more than 4,000 Indigenous children died either from neglect or abuse in residential schools, many of which were run by the Catholic Church. Jack Guy, CNN, 25 July 2022 More progress, in our view, will require a more robust safety net and the authorities taking a more constructive approach to supporting parents of children deemed to be experiencing neglect or abuse. Astraea Augsberger, The Conversation, 18 May 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.

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 8 Dec. 2022.

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

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