adjective non·cha·lant \ ˌnän-shə-ˈlänt ; ˌnän-shə-ˌlänt , -lənt \
|Updated on: 2 Aug 2018

Definition of nonchalant

: having an air of easy unconcern or indifference



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Examples of nonchalant in a Sentence

  1. 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 KirschNew York Times Book Review4 Jan. 2009
  2. … 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 UpdikeNew Yorker30 Sept. 2002
  3. 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 DefordSports Illustrated19 Mar. 2001
  4. 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 JustNew York Times Book Review28 May 1989
  5. He was surprisingly nonchalant about winning the award.

  6. She faced the crowd with the nonchalant ease of an experienced speaker.

  7. The team may have been somewhat nonchalant at the beginning of the season, but they now know that they need to work hard.

Recent Examples of nonchalant from the Web

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.

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."

Origin and Etymology of 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

Synonym Discussion of 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

NONCHALANT Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of nonchalant for English Language Learners

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

NONCHALANT Defined for Kids


adjective non·cha·lant \ ˌnän-shə-ˈlänt \

Definition of nonchalant for Students

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


\-ˈlänt-lē\ adverb

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