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 Otherwise, confirming that the vice president was warned would move him from naïve and oblivious to willfully blind and acquiescent to the conflict of interest. Jim Geraghty, National Review, "‘Trust Us,’ the Bidens Said.," 9 Dec. 2019 Richard is now a Stanford University professor, thanks to his oblivious friend, Big Head (Josh Brener), who once again has risen above his abilities to become the university's president. Bill Keveney, USA TODAY, "'Silicon Valley' star Thomas Middleditch on series finale: "Bittersweet ending is perfect"," 9 Dec. 2019 On Wednesday, one guard outside the Delta terminal admonished an oblivious driver for ignoring his command to stop for pedestrians. David Lyons, sun-sentinel.com, "There’s hope for the traffic gridlock at Fort Lauderdale’s airport," 23 Nov. 2019 Plug-in a feline pheromone in the room and turn on some light music or a sound machine to keep them oblivious to the festivities. Cathy M. Rosenthal, ExpressNews.com, "Thanksgiving: Hell for cats but dogs’ temptation bounty," 22 Nov. 2019 The surfers appeared largely oblivious to the massive mammal, not noticing even when the whale was just feet away. NBC News, "Watch giant whale swim under surfers in Southern California," 14 Nov. 2019 These dancers are oblivious to the rest of the world, their eyes locked on each other. Meryl Gordon, Town & Country, "Inside the Remodeled Rockefeller Estate Known as Rockfields," 7 Nov. 2019 Men who may think their inability to make rotis is cute are either oblivious or plain indifferent to the toll their cuteness is taking on their wives. Diksha Madhok, Quartz India, "Step up Indian men—or we’ll live happily ever after with our careers," 1 Nov. 2019 Some are oblivious out-of-towners; others are opportunistic ne’er-do-wells trying to get out of the one-way couplet in whatever way serves them best. Andrew Theen | The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, "Portland celebrated painting a few lanes red this week, but what about the Transit Mall?," 1 Nov. 2019

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

10 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Oblivious.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oblivious. Accessed 17 January 2020.

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More Definitions for oblivious


How to pronounce oblivious (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of oblivious

: not conscious or aware of someone or something


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

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


a plan in which a last survivor takes all

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