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

If the fatal Labor Day fire that engulfed the 75-foot vessel had occurred on land, the owners would bear responsibility for any negligence by the crew, an amount that could exceed $100 million. Maura Dolan, Los Angeles Times, "High-stakes legal battle looms in California boat fire that killed 34," 9 Sep. 2019 National-team gymnasts are also suing USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic Committee, as well as individual officials and coaches in some instances, alleging negligence. Melissa Korn, WSJ, "Michigan State to Pay Victims of Larry Nassar Abuse $500 Million," 16 May 2018 Pena, who has sued San Diego County multiple times alleging negligence over inmate deaths or injuries, said that lack of staffing at the Central Jail too often prompts lockdowns that stretch for two or three days. San Diego Union-Tribune, "San Diego jail inmate was bitten in the face," 11 Aug. 2019 Six construction workers who were injured when a floor of a north Houston high-rise collapsed this week have filed a lawsuit, seeking damages for their injuries and claiming negligence by the companies involved in the project. Danny Hermosillo, Houston Chronicle, "Workers injured in recent high-rise construction collapse suing Holiday Inn, construction firm," 31 July 2019 Matthew Barbee and Sherrie Utley-Barbee are suing Russ Auto Inc. and Darby McBride alleging negligence. oregonlive.com, "Former Tigard cop injured in crash sues driver, driver’s ex-employer for $23.6 million," 28 June 2019 In 1993, former Baltimore Colt Stan White sought court intervention to force Dulaney High School to name his daughter co-valedictorian, claiming that negligence by Baltimore County school leaders allowed her to be edged out by another student. Talia Richman, baltimoresun.com, "Maryland districts join national trend in eliminating class rank," 27 June 2019 But Kaczynski’s twin brother, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the current leader of Poland’s nationalist ruling Law and Justice party, has blamed the crash on negligence by Tusk’s government, which was critical of his brother, the president. Monika Acislowska, BostonGlobe.com, "Polish court: Ex-aide negligent in presidential plane crash," 13 June 2019 Mitich’s attorney, James Young with Morgan & Morgan in Jacksonville, said the lawsuit alleges negligence. Fox News, "Jacksonville Landing shooting survivor tells story, files lawsuit," 30 Aug. 2018

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

17 Sep 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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