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

One of those was school resource officer Scot Peterson, who was also arrested on criminal charges for child neglect, culpable negligence and perjury. Emily Tillett, CBS News, "Fired Broward Sheriff Scott Israel campaigns for old job after Parkland controversy," 2 July 2019 The suit alleges several complaints, including civil rights violations, denial of medical care, false arrest, negligence and infliction of emotional distress. Teri Figueroa, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Lawsuit: Woman jailed for being drunk in Oceanside was really having a stroke," 28 June 2019 Murray’s actions carry weight in this case because IPS is raising contributory negligence as a defense. Crystal Hill, Indianapolis Star, "A 16-year-old was fatally shot near his Indianapolis high school. Is the school liable?," 26 June 2019 Two other deputies have already been fired for neglect of duty during the shooting, including Scot Peterson, who was arrested earlier this month on charges of child neglect, culpable negligence and perjury. NBC News, "Two more Broward County deputies fired for neglect during Parkland school shooting," 26 June 2019 Peterson also faces criminal charges of child neglect, negligence and perjury. John Bacon, USA TODAY, "Two more deputies fired after Parkland school shooting: 'It was neglect of duty'," 26 June 2019 Michael James Serres pleaded guilty Thursday in Dakota County District Court to felony criminal vehicular homicide (negligence and under the influence of alcohol) for the death of Terri Lynn Stephenson, 49. Nick Ferraro, Twin Cities, "Dakota County driver pleads guilty to being drunk in Valentine’s Day crash that killed girlfriend," 21 June 2019 The vials are also used for murder and criminal negligence cases, which could add an additional amount of containers needing to be checked. Samantha Ketterer, Houston Chronicle, "Thousands of DWI cases in Harris County thrown into question after blood vial recall," 21 June 2019 Successful suits against the gun industry would set a precedent that responsible companies must pay for the malfeasance or negligence of those who purchase their products. Krista Kafer, The Denver Post, "Kafer: Rep. Crow’s gun liability law makes a mockery of personal responsibility," 17 June 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

9 Jul 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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