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

Two Jefferson County jail deputies who were acquitted last year of criminal negligence in the death of an inmate are now suing the district attorneys who took them to trial, alleging malicious prosecution. oregonlive.com, "Two Jefferson County jail deputies acquitted in inmate’s death file suit, alleging malicious prosecution," 26 July 2019 In 2016, a French court found Ms. Lagarde guilty of negligence in relation to the same case, but the court did not impose a penalty. New York Times, "Who Did the E.U.’s Leaders Choose for Its Top Jobs?," 2 July 2019 The lawsuit, filed by Ms. Nelson’s mother, Rosanne Nelson, accuses the university of carelessness and negligence in sanctioning the event, approving the use of pancakes in the contest and in not providing any medical personnel during the contest. Melanie Grayce West, WSJ, "University Sued Over Student Who Died From Pancake-Eating Contest," 29 Oct. 2018 In 2016, a special court convicted then-finance minister Christine Lagarde of negligence in her management of the arbitration but didn’t level any punishment and spared her a criminal record. Washington Post, "French tycoon acquitted of fraud in huge arbitration case," 9 July 2019 That life, however, was cut much too short by the negligence and irresponsibility of the defendant. oregonlive.com, "Portland woman sentenced to 18 months in I-205 car accident that killed boyfriend," 28 June 2019 State inspectors are investigating the possibility that negligence of a daycare employee contributed to the girl’s death. Cliff Pinckard, cleveland.com, "Cuyahoga County proposes hiking bed tax: The Wake Up for Tuesday, June 25, 2019," 25 June 2019 As a general matter, employers are responsible for the negligence of employees committed within the scope of their job, but employers are usually not responsible for the wrongful actions of independent contractors. Michael Mccann, SI.com, "Kevin Durant's Achilles Injury and the Potential Legal Implications," 17 June 2019 The allegations of negligence at a major nursing-home chain come as the Trump administration is moving to ease, not increase, accountability for the industry, reducing penalties and terminating fewer contracts with problem owners. NBC News, "A nursing home chain grows too fast and collapses, and elderly and disabled residents pay the price," 19 July 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

20 Aug 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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