non·​cha·​lant | \ ˌnän-shə-ˈlänt How to pronounce nonchalant (audio) ; ˈnän-shə-ˌlänt, -lənt\

Definition of nonchalant

: having an air of easy unconcern or indifference

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Choose the Right Synonym for nonchalant

cool, composed, collected, unruffled, imperturbable, nonchalant mean free from agitation or excitement. cool may imply calmness, deliberateness, or dispassionateness. kept a cool head composed implies freedom from agitation as a result of self-discipline or a sedate disposition. the composed pianist gave a flawless concert collected implies a concentration of mind that eliminates distractions especially in moments of crisis. the nurse stayed calm and collected unruffled suggests apparent serenity and poise in the face of setbacks or in the midst of excitement. harried but unruffled imperturbable implies coolness or assurance even under severe provocation. the speaker remained imperturbable despite the heckling nonchalant stresses an easy coolness of manner or casualness that suggests indifference or unconcern. a nonchalant driver

Stay Cool With the History of Nonchalant

Since "nonchalant" comes ultimately from Latin words meaning "not" and "be warm," it's no surprise that the word is all about keeping one's cool. The French word nonchalant, which we borrowed around 1734, has essentially the same meaning as our English word and was derived in Old French from a verb, "nonchaloir," which meant "to disregard." "Nonchaloir" in turn combines the negative "non-" with "chaloir," which means "to concern" and comes from the Latin calēre ("to be warm"). "Unconcerned" is one synonym of "nonchalant," along with "casual," "complacent," and "insouciant."

Examples of nonchalant in a Sentence

In those stories, we already find the qualities the world would come to know as "Kafkaesque": the nonchalant intrusion of the bizarre and horrible into everyday life, the subjection of ordinary people to an inscrutable fate. — Adam Kirsch, New York Times Book Review, 4 Jan. 2009 … watch his iron-backed posture as he rides a horse and listen to the nonchalant way in which, not barking but speaking he says "Fire" to the line of infantry, like someone asking for a light. — John Updike, New Yorker, 30 Sept. 2002 He and Anita (and an ancient, nonchalant Lhasa apso … ) live in a gated community, surrounded by high, vine-covered walls, redolent of Wrigley, that embrace a golf club and an attractive thicket of large houses … — Frank Deford, Sports Illustrated, 19 Mar. 2001 It was thrilling to watch them, the regulars, so nonchalant, so composed as they slipped from Senate cloakroom to Senate hideaway, sharing jokes with powerful men old enough to be their fathers. — Ward Just, New York Times Book Review, 28 May 1989 He was surprisingly nonchalant about winning the award. She faced the crowd with the nonchalant ease of an experienced speaker. The team may have been somewhat nonchalant at the beginning of the season, but they now know that they need to work hard.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Call it the most nonchalant Parisian way to make an entrance at a fashion show. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "This French Actress Gives the Front Row Dress Code a Radical Makeover at Chanel’s Couture Show in Paris," 22 Jan. 2019 Although the couple didn't publicly address the speculation, this may be Campbell's nonchalant way of shutting down the gossip. Harper's Bazaar Staff, Harper's BAZAAR, "Naomi Campbell Shuts Down Pregnancy Speculation with an Epic Bikini Instagram," 1 Aug. 2018 Most of the actors are capable, and the show deftly mixes emotional extremity with speedy, nonchalant storytelling. Mike Hale, New York Times, "Review: ‘Fauda’ Returns on Netflix, Guns Blazing," 23 May 2018 And while McGee seems nonchalant about the package, Kasie quickly calls him out. Megan Stein, Country Living, "Is McGee Leaving 'NCIS?'," 15 Jan. 2019 The thing that concerned me most was his nonchalant attitude about what transpired. Josephine Yurcaba, Teen Vogue, "Oklahoma Teen Allegedly Stabbed a Girl After She Romantically Rejected Him," 28 Aug. 2018 At the 2018 Grammys red carpet, the Philadelphia musician answered questions with one of the most nonchalant attitudes ever seen. Wandera Hussein, Billboard, "Lil Uzi Vert Hits 'Late Show' Stage for Moody Performance of 'The Way Life Goes'," 6 Feb. 2018 Rather than freaking out, Beyoncé remained nonchalant and blew kisses to the fans below until a crew member could set up an emergency ladder. Andrea Park, Glamour, "Beyoncé Stopped Herself From Falling Down the Stairs in Concert Like a Pro," 24 Aug. 2018 But early on my plans to look like an Instagram-influencer-meets-nonchalant-cool-girl went awry. Megan Ditrolio, Marie Claire, "The Item I Wear to Death: A Vintage Versace Jean Jacket," 9 Jan. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'nonchalant.' 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 nonchalant

circa 1734, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for nonchalant

French, from Old French, from present participle of nonchaloir to disregard, from non- + chaloir to concern, from Latin calēre to be warm — more at lee

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Statistics for nonchalant

Last Updated

23 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for nonchalant

The first known use of nonchalant was circa 1734

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More Definitions for nonchalant



English Language Learners Definition of nonchalant

: relaxed and calm in a way that shows that you do not care or are not worried about anything


non·​cha·​lant | \ ˌnän-shə-ˈlänt How to pronounce nonchalant (audio) \

Kids Definition of nonchalant

: showing or having a relaxed manner free from concern or excitement He was surprisingly nonchalant about winning the award.

Other Words from nonchalant

nonchalantly \ -​ˈlänt-​lē \ adverb

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Comments on nonchalant

What made you want to look up nonchalant? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to affect and impair by alcohol or a drug

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