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

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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 As insurrectionists roamed the Capitol, hunting for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and threatening to hang Pence, Johnson was oblivious. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Editorial: Ron Johnson's whitewash of the U.S. Capitol riot shows why Wisconsin's senior senator has to go," 18 Feb. 2021 On a recent afternoon in his apartment in the ultra-Orthodox enclave of Bnei Brak, Rabbi Kanievsky appeared oblivious to the controversy raging around him. New York Times, "He Is Israel’s ‘Prince of Torah.’ But to Some, He Is the King of Covid.," 29 Jan. 2021 Since these sharks and rays range across the open ocean, oblivious to national borders, reversing these declines will require international cooperation. Catrin Einhorn, Star Tribune, "Shark populations are crashing, with a 'very small window' to avert disaster," 28 Jan. 2021 To say the connection between the players has not noticeably increased over the course of the season would be oblivious. Dallas News, "3 things that need to happen for Texas Tech to make a run in the NCAA Tournament: getting to the stripe is key for the Red Raiders’ success," 18 Jan. 2021 Goggins brings his signature oblivious bravado, and director Jake Szymanski (HBO's Tour de Pharmacy) and producer Marc Gilbar allow that strength to set the tone for 37 minutes of silliness and surprise detours that consistently pay off. Ars Staff, Ars Technica, "The 15 best films of a bizarre (and probably historic) year for film," 19 Dec. 2020 What these journalists seem oblivious to is that this can be an insult to their audiences, implying the mere reader isn't smart enough to determine the truth for himself. Arkansas Online, "OPINION | EDITORIAL: Lying in wait," 14 Dec. 2020 The alligator, seemingly oblivious to the golf ball perched between a couple of the scales on its tail, is facing the opposite direction along the bank of a lake. Tiffini Theisen, orlandosentinel.com, "Video: Daredevil Florida golfer plucks ball off alligator’s tail," 14 Dec. 2020 Bennett is perfectly cast as the oblivious, pathetic dad. Andy Hoglund, EW.com, "Saturday Night Live recap: Timothée Chalamet makes his hosting debut," 13 Dec. 2020

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

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

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Time Traveler for oblivious

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for oblivious

Last Updated

1 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Oblivious.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oblivious. Accessed 5 Mar. 2021.

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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

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Comments on oblivious

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