negligence

noun
neg·​li·​gence | \ ˈne-gli-jən(t)s How to pronounce negligence (audio) \

Definition of negligence

1a : the quality or state of being negligent
b : failure to exercise the care that a reasonably prudent person would exercise in like circumstances … his naivete and negligence had been the source of his problems.— Michael Leahy
2 : an act or instance of being negligent regretted his past negligences

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Examples of negligence in a Sentence

The company was charged with negligence in the manufacturing of the defective tires. exhibiting his usual negligence, he failed to set the emergency brake, and the car rolled down the steep hill and crashed into the telephone pole

Recent Examples on the Web

That officer was arrested last month on 11 charges of neglect of a child, culpable negligence and perjury. New York Times, "Las Vegas Police Fire an Officer Who ‘Froze’ During the 2017 Massacre," 3 July 2019 One of those was school resource officer Scot Peterson, who was also arrested on charges of child neglect, culpable negligence and perjury. Fox News, "Broward County Sheriff's Office loses accreditation after school massacre, Florida airport shooting: report," 2 July 2019 The school resource officer, former Sheriff’s Deputy Scot Peterson, was also charged with several crimes stemming from his alleged actions that day, including child neglect, culpable negligence and perjury. Talal Ansari, WSJ, "Broward County Sheriff Fires Two More Deputies After Investigation of Parkland Shooting," 26 June 2019 Police charged 25-year-old Jeanee Dunn of Oxford and 41-year-old Bridget Austin of Abbeville with manslaughter by culpable negligence, more than a year after Durley Bratton died in April 2017. Jeff Amy, The Seattle Times, "2 ex-workers charged in World War II veteran’s 2017 death," 10 July 2018 Clearly, Officer Noor violated the rules and deserves to be charged.’’ Noor is charged with third-degree murder for perpetrating an eminently dangerous act and second-degree manslaughter for culpable negligence creating unreasonable risk. Amy Forliti, BostonGlobe.com, "Minneapolis officer charged in shooting of Australian woman," 21 Mar. 2018 Veterinarians told investigators that such deaths are not accidental and pointed to negligence on the part of Jordanian handlers. oregonlive, "U.S. officials knew bomb-sniffing dogs were dying from neglect in Jordan. They sent more.," 16 Sep. 2019 Amtrak admitted negligence after its first passenger train on a new trackway flew off a curve at 80 mph near DuPont. Seattle Times Staff, The Seattle Times, "Jury awards $17 million to 3 plaintiffs in deadly Amtrak derailment," 14 Sep. 2019 What was the challenge defending Harris against involuntary manslaughter that put the burden on proving negligence rather than intent? Taylor Mims, Billboard, "Ghost Ship Attorney on His Client's Acquittal, Defending One of 'the Most Hated People in America'," 11 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'negligence.' 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 negligence

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for negligence

Middle English necligence, neglicence, borrowed from Anglo-French, borrowed from Latin neglegentia, neclegentia, from neglegent-, neglegens, necligens negligent + -ia -ia entry 1

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Statistics for negligence

Last Updated

15 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for negligence

The first known use of negligence was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for negligence

negligence

noun

English Language Learners Definition of negligence

formal : failure to take the care that a responsible person usually takes : lack of normal care or attention

negligence

noun
neg·​li·​gence | \ ˈne-glə-jəns How to pronounce negligence (audio) \

Kids Definition of negligence

: failure to take proper or normal care of something or someone

negligence

noun
neg·​li·​gence | \ ˈne-gli-jəns How to pronounce negligence (audio) \

Legal Definition of negligence

: failure to exercise the degree of care expected of a person of ordinary prudence in like circumstances in protecting others from a foreseeable and unreasonable risk of harm in a particular situation also : conduct that reflects this failure

called also ordinary negligence, simple negligence

— compare abuse sense 2, due care, intent

Note: Negligence may render one civilly and sometimes criminally liable for resulting injuries.

collateral negligence
: negligence on the part of an independent contractor that is not connected with a manner of working or risk ordinarily associated with particular work and for which the employer of the contractor is not liable
comparative negligence \ kəm-​ˈpar-​ə-​tiv-​ \
1a : negligence of one among multiple parties involved in an injury that is measured (as in percentages) according to the degree of its contribution to the injury the comparative negligence of the plaintiff
b : a doctrine, rule, or method of apportioning liability and damages in tort law: negligence and damages are determined by reference to the proportionate fault of the plaintiff and defendant with the negligence of the plaintiff not constituting an absolute bar to recovery from the defendant — compare contributory negligence in this entry

Note: The great majority of states have replaced the doctrine of contributory negligence with that of comparative negligence.

2 : an affirmative defense alleging comparative negligence by the plaintiff
contributory negligence
1 : negligence on the part of a plaintiff that contributed to the injury at issue
2 : a now largely abolished doctrine in tort law: negligence on the part of a plaintiff that contributed to the injury at issue will bar recovery from the defendant also : an affirmative defense based on this doctrine
criminal negligence
: a gross deviation from the standard of care expected of a reasonable person that is manifest in a failure to protect others from a risk (as of death) deriving from one's conduct and that renders one criminally liable

called also culpable negligence

— compare gross negligence in this entry
gross negligence
: negligence that is marked by conduct that presents an unreasonably high degree of risk to others and by a failure to exercise even the slightest care in protecting them from it and that is sometimes associated with conscious and willful indifference to their rights — see also recklessness — compare criminal negligence in this entry
negligence per se \ -​ˌpər-​ˈsā, -​ˈsē \
: negligence that consists of a violation of a statute especially designed to protect the public safety

Note: Recovery may be had on a theory of negligence per se when the harm resulting from the violation is the type that the statute is designed to prevent, the plaintiff is a member of the class of persons sought to be protected by the statute, and the violation is the proximate cause of the plaintiff's injury.

ordinary negligence
passive negligence
: failure to do something (as to discover a dangerous condition on one's property) that is not a breach of an affirmative duty and that in combination with another's act is a cause of injury
simple negligence
slight negligence
: failure to exercise the great degree of care typical of an extraordinarily prudent person

Note: The category of slight negligence is used much less frequently than ordinary negligence and gross negligence, the other members of a three-level classification that was formerly prevalent.

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