Definition of nonchalant
: having an air of easy unconcern or indifference
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.
Did You Know?
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
First Known Use: circa 1734
Synonym Discussion of nonchalant
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
Definition of nonchalant for Students
: showing or having a relaxed manner free from concern or excitement <He was surprisingly nonchalant about winning the award.>
Seen and Heard
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