oblivious

adjective
obliv·​i·​ous | \ ə-ˈbli-vē-əs How to pronounce oblivious (audio) \

Definition of oblivious

1 : lacking remembrance, memory, or mindful attention
2 : lacking active conscious knowledge or awareness usually used with of or to

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Teens scooted in and out of the corner store, seemingly oblivious to the flashing police lights and officers. Peter Hermann, Washington Post, "‘When is it going to stop?’ A rise in homicides in the District brings grief and frustration," 29 May 2018 The idea that black children have the luxury to be as oblivious to the world around them as white children is absurd. Kirsten West Savali, The Root, "‘Highly Offended’ White Teacher Kicked My 9-Year-Old Son Out of Class for Taking Knee During Pledge," 21 May 2018 The whole group is seemingly oblivious to the cars and trucks attempting to maneuver around them. Jennifer Williams, Vox, "A Russian official is in trouble after his wife’s twerking caused a massive traffic jam," 12 Oct. 2018 For months, as the Trump administration ratcheted up trade threats — announcing tariffs on allies and adversaries alike — business at the nation’s largest port complex in San Pedro Bay has hummed along, seemingly oblivious. Jim Puzzanghera, latimes.com, "Tariffs on Chinese goods threaten Southern California ports and could ripple through to consumers," 20 June 2018 More than a couple of the occupants were standing in front of their windows Tuesday morning wearing white robes from the hotel, seemingly oblivious to the fact they can be seen from the park or street. Paul Sullivan, chicagotribune.com, "What we learned at the Cubs' snowed-out home opener," 9 Apr. 2018 Confident from the retail response to spring, the fall collection featured and expanded line-up and richer materials, including high-tech fabrics and Shetland wools, each look proudly oblivious of trends and seasons. Erik Maza, Town & Country, "Plan C, the New Label From the Family Behind Marni, Is the Coolest Thing to Come out of Milan," 27 Feb. 2019 The track starts off quietly enough, with players racing through checkpoints and past enemy NPCs who seem as oblivious to the action as armadillos on Texas roads. Leif Johnson, PCWorld, "Check out this exclusive look at Guild Wars 2's jaw-dropping Infernal Leap roller beetle track," 26 Nov. 2018 This fantasy tends to be peddled by people who are either too naïve or too oblivious to recognize how only certain kinds of privilege make this possible. Christine Ro, Outside Online, "Bringing Up Baby on the Road," 25 May 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.

See More

First Known Use of oblivious

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for oblivious

Middle English, borrowed from Latin oblīviōsus, from oblīvi-, base of oblīviōn-, oblīviō "state of forgetting, dismissal from the memory" + -ōsus -ous — more at oblivion

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about oblivious

Statistics for oblivious

Last Updated

13 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for oblivious

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for oblivious

oblivious

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of oblivious

: not conscious or aware of someone or something

oblivious

adjective
obliv·​i·​ous | \ ə-ˈbli-vē-əs How to pronounce oblivious (audio) \

Kids Definition of oblivious

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

Other Words from oblivious

obliviously adverb

Keep scrolling for more

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).

WORD OF THE DAY

incapable of being surmounted or overcome

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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