obliv·​i·​ous | \ə-ˈbli-vē-əs \

Definition of oblivious 

1 : lacking remembrance, memory, or mindful attention

2 : lacking active conscious knowledge or awareness usually used with of or to

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Other Words from oblivious

obliviously adverb
obliviousness noun

How to Use Oblivious in a Sentence: does it go with 'of' or 'to'?

Oblivious usually has to do with not being conscious or aware of someone or something. When used with this meaning, it can be followed by either to or of:

The cat had crept in silently, and we were oblivious to its presence in the room.

There was no chance that anyone could be oblivious of the dog, though; it greeted everyone in the room with frisky leaps.

Oblivious can also have to do with forgetfulness, and when it's used this way, it is often followed by of (but not to):

The child had brought in a snake she'd discovered in the garden, oblivious of the promise she'd made to leave all found creatures outside.

Whatever meaning of oblivious you choose to use, the noun that correlates with this adjective is obliviousness:

Our obliviousness to the cat's presence in the room was quickly corrected by the dog's discovery of the cat under the chair.

The noun oblivion is related to both, of course, but it is not the noun form of oblivious.

Examples of oblivious in a Sentence

They were pushing and shouting and oblivious to anyone not in their group. — P. J. O'Rourke, Rolling Stone, 14 Nov. 1996 Prentice looked up from his food, which he had been steadily shovelling in, completely oblivious of everyone. — Antonya Nelson, New Yorker, 9 Nov. 1992 Oblivious of any previous decisions not to stand together …  , the three stood in a tight group … — Doris Lessing, The Good Terrorist, 1985 Father was oblivious to the man's speculative notice of his wife. — E. L. Doctorow, Ragtime, 1974 She rested now, frankly and fairly, in the shelter of his arms, and both were oblivious to the gale that rushed past them in quicker and stronger blasts. — Jack London, Burning Daylight, 1910 the out-of-state motorist claimed to be oblivious of the local speed limit, even though the signs must have been hard to miss
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Recent Examples on the Web

Bucking trend, an early-bird octogenarian quietly scans his newspaper, oblivious, by all appearances, to the frenzy. Cnt Editors, Condé Nast Traveler, "Loud, Crowded, Grease-Stained, and Gloriously Drunk: Where the World Eats After Hours," 8 Oct. 2018 The widespread effect that devices might be having is obvious on any subway platform, where the crowds bend their necks down to look at glowing screens, oblivious to everyone around them. Laney Ruckstuhl, BostonGlobe.com, "Is your device giving you ‘iPad neck,’ ‘i-hunch,’ or ‘text neck’?," 28 June 2018 Kenausis liked old cars and rusty bikes and was simply oblivious of the opinions of others. Anne M. Hamilton, courant.com, "Extraordinary Life: An Old-School Chemist And Do-It-Yourself Advocate," 3 June 2018 Khashoggi, oblivious, tucked into his rack of lamb with Chinese mustard, sipped his '79 Petrus, his '61 Krug. Jay Cheshes, Town & Country, "Caviar and Cocaine," 6 Feb. 2013 In San Francisco, where it is widely supposed that conservatives are full of excrement, many locals remain oblivious to their town’s hyper-conservative streak even as folks protesting scooters adopt the inelegant tactic of defecating on them. Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic, "Fly On, My Sleek Electric Bird," 30 May 2018 Many are indifferent to the process, and some remain oblivious to it. Tim Logan, BostonGlobe.com, "Poll: Many Bostonians aren’t breathlessly following the race to land Amazon’s HQ2," 18 Apr. 2018 Stillpoint Lodge, Halibut Cove, AK Originally built as an artist retreat, Stillpoint Lodge is not oblivious to the majesty of its pristine locale on a private stretch of Halibut Cove, 20 minutes by boat from Homer. Stephanie Granada, Sunset, "10 Stunning Eco-Friendly Hotels," 22 Jan. 2018 Both of us acted oblivious, and just moved along like nothing happened. Karley Sciortino, Vogue, "Why I Choose to Pursue the Pervier Side of Life," 12 July 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for oblivious

see oblivion

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Statistics for oblivious

Last Updated

14 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for oblivious

The first known use of oblivious was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for oblivious



English Language Learners Definition of oblivious

: not conscious or aware of someone or something


obliv·​i·​ous | \ə-ˈbli-vē-əs \

Kids Definition of oblivious

: not being conscious or aware The boys were oblivious to the danger.

Other Words from oblivious

obliviously adverb

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Comments on oblivious

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


something that serves to warn or remind

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