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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web The alum finished the look with her hair in a chic though nonchalant top bun and minimal makeup. Bianca Betancourt, Harper's BAZAAR, "Katie Holmes Sports Winter White with a Sexy, Ruched Dress," 31 Jan. 2020 As a nonchalant serial killer, Goldberg has murdered several characters throughout the show's first two seasons, with more killings taking place offscreen. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "You's Penn Badgley Can Go from Zero to Serial Killer in Mere Seconds," 11 Jan. 2020 One instructs the device to add a number of i’s to her Hiiiiiiiiii to strike the right nonchalant tone. Kate Knibbs, Wired, "Netflix's The Circle Is the Best TV Show About the Internet," 8 Jan. 2020 Tiger moth species that contain bad tasting and toxic compounds are nonchalant in the presence of bats, while edible moth species evade their predators. Susanne Bard, Scientific American, "Moths Flee or Face Bats Depending on Toxicity," 19 Dec. 2019 Since his arm would have had to work against gravity, these marks seem slightly slower, less nonchalant, more calculated. Sebastian Smee, Washington Post, "John Singer Sargent shows how it’s done in masterful ‘Venetian Interior’," 18 Dec. 2019 Iniesta was once again the architect, playing Neymar in behind Thomas Meunier with a nonchalant flick, forcing the Belgian to, well, fall over himself in pursuit and take the Brazilian with his head for a penalty., "Barcelona 6-1 PSG: Remembering That Mad Midweek Miracle at Camp Nou," 30 Oct. 2019 But that song for the most part just came out of having a gut reaction to the nonchalant depictions of murder in our cinema. Cara Korte, CBS News, "The Avett Brothers talk new album "Closer Than Together" and cautiously get political," 7 Oct. 2019 This remarkable collection wields a keen blade of attention, a nonchalant elegance. Mary Ann Grossmann, Twin Cities, "Literary pick of the week: Poet Joyce Sutphen launches collection at St. Paul bookstore," 28 Sep. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about nonchalant

Time Traveler for nonchalant

Time Traveler

The first known use of nonchalant was circa 1734

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about nonchalant

Statistics for nonchalant

Last Updated

15 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Nonchalant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for nonchalant


How to pronounce nonchalant (audio)

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!