neg·​li·​gent | \ ˈne-gli-jənt How to pronounce negligent (audio) \

Definition of negligent

1a : marked by or given to neglect especially habitually or culpably was a careless workman, negligent of details— Edith Hamilton
b : failing to exercise the care expected of a reasonably prudent person in like circumstances negligent about traffic regulations
2 : marked by a carelessly easy manner

Other Words from negligent

negligently adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for negligent

negligent, neglectful, lax, slack, remiss mean culpably careless or indicative of such carelessness. negligent implies inattention to one's duty or business. negligent about writing a note of thanks neglectful adds a more disapproving implication of laziness or deliberate inattention. a society callously neglectful of the poor lax implies a blameworthy lack of strictness, severity, or precision. a reporter lax about accurate quotation slack implies want of due or necessary diligence or care. slack workmanship remiss implies blameworthy carelessness shown in slackness, forgetfulness, or neglect. had been remiss in their familial duties

Did you know?

To be negligent is to be neglectful. Negligence is an important legal concept; it's usually defined as the failure to use the care that a normally careful person would in a given situation. Negligence is a common claim in lawsuits regarding medical malpractice, auto accidents, and workplace injuries. But you can also be negligent about answering your email, or negligent in the way you dress. (The original garment called a negligee was worn by women who had neglected to get fully dressed.) The legal meanings of negligent and negligence, however, tend to be the ones we most often encounter nowadays.

Examples of negligent in a Sentence

The fire was started by a negligent smoker. He was negligent in not reporting the accident to the police.
Recent Examples on the Web Detectives are investigating whether anyone was negligent, Kelly said. Natalie Neysa Alund, USA TODAY, 22 Sep. 2022 Attorneys for the district said employees had not been negligent and would return immediately to the kids. Salvador Hernandez, Los Angeles Times, 25 Aug. 2022 Each quarter, Tesla publishes misleading statistics which state that drivers using Autopilot have better safety records than those who don’t, even though some Autopilot users are negligent. Brad Templeton, Forbes, 25 Aug. 2022 Diana Treviño-Montelongo, 37, was charged Thursday with criminal negligent homicide, according to Shepard Price, San Antonio Express-News, 16 Sep. 2022 His allegations, which were the central subject of yesterday’s hearing, range from claims of lax security protocols to negligent leadership—all of which Twitter denies. WIRED, 15 Sep. 2022 McCarthy was additionally charged with possession of a firearm by a felon and negligent injury. Marlene Lenthang, NBC News, 8 Sep. 2022 Cyril is absent at best and negligent at worst, but his children can’t seem to distance themselves from him, often belittling their mothers’ love in the process. Meena Venkataramanan, Washington Post, 8 Sep. 2022 Haddish is also accused of negligent supervision/failure to warn, breach of fiduciary duty, and constructive fraud. Nick Romano,, 5 Sep. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'negligent.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of negligent

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

History and Etymology for negligent

Middle English necligent, negligent, borrowed from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French, borrowed from Latin neglegent-, neglegens (also neclegens, negligens), present participle of neglegere, neclegere "to disregard, do nothing about, fail to care for" — more at neglect entry 1

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

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negligent escape

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Last Updated

2 Oct 2022

Cite this Entry

“Negligent.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for negligent


neg·​li·​gent | \ ˈne-glə-jənt How to pronounce negligent (audio) \

Kids Definition of negligent

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

Other Words from negligent

negligently adverb


neg·​li·​gent | \ ˈne-gli-jənt How to pronounce negligent (audio) \

Legal Definition of negligent

: marked by, given to, or produced by negligence a negligent act the defendant was negligent

Other Words from negligent

negligently adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on negligent

Nglish: Translation of negligent for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of negligent for Arabic Speakers


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