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 Nursing home staff shortages contributed to neglect and deficient care during the pandemic, investigators found, and a byzantine structure helped companies skirt accountability and served to confuse consumers. Nicole Fallert, USA TODAY, 22 Sep. 2022 But critics have long cited low staffing by for-profit nursing home chains as contributing to neglect and poor health outcomes for residents. Christopher Rowland, Washington Post, 21 Sep. 2022 With her departure, the house resigns itself to neglect and decay. Meghan Cox Gurdon, WSJ, 9 Sep. 2022 The renowned hacker laid much of Twitter’s security lapses at Dorsey’s feet, arguing that his lack of leadership allowed employees to neglect their duties. Jacob Carpenter, Fortune, 2 Sep. 2022 But there’s one department that stylish deal hunters won’t want to neglect: the best fashion deals on Amazon. Danielle Directo-meston, The Hollywood Reporter, 13 July 2022 Grosklos on Friday received a 20-year sentence in state prison after pleading guilty to neglect of a dependent resulting in death. Sarah Nelson, The Indianapolis Star, 14 June 2022 Turned out she’d been seized from a home due to neglect. Bonnie Garmus, Good Housekeeping, 19 May 2022 Sometimes that mess can result in a lawsuit for violating a tenant's rights or even someone injured on the property due to neglect. Ari Chazanas, Forbes, 3 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Casey Lee Marqui Burnett, 22, has been charged with murder, Level 1 felony aggravated battery and Level 1 felony neglect of a dependent resulting in death, according to court records. Michelle L. Quinn, Chicago Tribune, 19 Sep. 2022 Setting aside regions left in the dark by poverty and neglect, precious few communities have managed to slow down light's advance. Joshua Sokol, Scientific American, 16 Sep. 2022 Haworthia and the unrelated Sansevieria have taken the brunt of my plant neglect for years and valiantly keep going. Miri Talabac, Baltimore Sun, 15 Sep. 2022 Carr emphasized the importance of reporting any incidents that raise concerns of abuse, exploitation or neglect. Henri Hollis, ajc, 14 Sep. 2022 The Journal reports that a final question looms for courts to consider regarding Sullivan's seeming neglect as a security chief who allegedly covered up a data breach. Ashley Belanger, Ars Technica, 9 Sep. 2022 The water industry knows how to address the neglect, and money is needed, but experience shows that leadership and workforce capacity go far even when money is scarce. WSJ, 9 Sep. 2022 Samantha Moreno-Rodriguez, 36, pleaded guilty to charges of murder and child abuse and neglect or endangerment resulting in substantial bodily harm, TV station KLAS reported, citing court documents filed Sept. 1. Elaine Aradillas, Peoplemag, 6 Sep. 2022 But across the state, graves are falling into disrepair as earth, grass and weeds swallow markers that have become illegible with years of corrosion and neglect. Stephen Underwood, Hartford Courant, 12 Sep. 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

26 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Neglect.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Oct. 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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