Definition of negligent
- was a careless workman, negligent of details
- —Edith Hamilton
- negligent about traffic regulations
The fire was started by a negligent smoker.
He was negligent in not reporting the accident to the police.
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.
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 e-mail, 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.
First Known Use: 14th centurySee Words from the same year
: failing to take proper or normal care of something or someone
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