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

The complaint alleges Facebook is guilty of unlawful business practices, deceit by concealment, negligence, and violations of California’s Customer Records Act. Nick Statt, The Verge, "Facebook faces class-action lawsuit over massive new hack," 28 Sep. 2018 Unlike in most states, California utilities can be found liable if their equipment contributed to a fire, regardless of negligence. Nicole Friedman, WSJ, "PG&E Was a Hedge-Fund Darling. That Bet Flopped.," 14 Jan. 2019 According to The Mercury News, Arns Law Firm in San Francisco — which specializes in cases of negligence by public entities — will represent Wilson’s family in the suit. Kate Leaver, Teen Vogue, "Nia Wilson's Family Is Suing Bay Area Rapid Transit for Not Protecting Her," 2 Aug. 2018 Marginalizing a major swath of our populace, whether by negligence or malice, undermines that and keeps valuable voices on the fringes of society. Dennis Eckhoff, Vox, "After my felony conviction, I didn’t know if I could vote. It took me 12 years to find out.," 29 Oct. 2018 The lack of urgency to develop such route symbolizes the apparent negligence and indifference from state officials, public representatives, and the oil industry in their responsibility to properly assess and mitigate pipeline risks. Mary Lovell, Teen Vogue, "Bayou Bridge Pipeline Meets Resistance from the L’eau Est La Vie Camp," 16 Oct. 2018 The negligence caused the plaintiff increased stress, anxiety, insomnia, depression and almost 15 days of absence from work, according to the lawsuit. Naseem S. Miller, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Person with HIV sues Aetna in Orange County," 11 July 2018 The lawsuit alleges negligence, wantonness, defamation, negligent infliction for emotional distress, intentional infliction of emotional distress, outrage and civil conspiracy. Monique Judge, The Root, "Roy Moore Believes He’s the Victim of a ‘Political Conspiracy,’ Sues His Accusers," 30 Apr. 2018 The young man and his mother are suing the Charleston County School District for negligence. Fox News, "Lawsuit: Teacher used grades to coerce student into sex," 24 Sep. 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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Last Updated

19 Feb 2019

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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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