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 Lucille was a familiar type — imperious, oblivious, passive-aggressively cruel — that in the wrong hands can be unbearable to watch. Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone, "Raising a Glass to Jessica Walter, from Sixties Soap Star to the Iconic Lucille Bluth," 25 Mar. 2021 Revisiting a timeline of events reveals how incredibly oblivious public health officials at the RIVM were. Joshua Cohen, Forbes, "Metamorphosis Of A Dutch Top Public Health Official, Jaap Van Dissel, In The Face Of The Covid-19 Pandemic," 11 Mar. 2021 For Wenham, that wasn’t an option: Her partner was working in another room, oblivious to the chaos. Helen Lewis, The Atlantic, "The Pandemic Has Made Women Angry," 10 Mar. 2021 The movie acknowledges that past generations of feminists, represented by Poehler herself, have been woefully oblivious to their white privilege, and stresses the need for intersectionality. Anne Cohen, refinery29.com, "Amy Poehler’s Moxie Has A Privilege Problem," 9 Mar. 2021 In addition, the movie smartly features Emily Hopper as Meg, a student who uses a wheelchair and displays an amusing take-no-prisoners attitude toward her oblivious classmates. Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times, "Review: ‘Moxie’ has verve but is more than a little clueless (and not in a good way)," 2 Mar. 2021 Many people refuse to wear masks and cluster in dense crowds inside bazaars, supermarkets, restaurants and mosques, oblivious to ubiquitous public health posters. New York Times, "Where a Vaccination Campaign Faces Skepticism, War and Corruption," 23 Feb. 2021 City dwellers tend to be relatively oblivious to aspect, but sitting still for an hour on a sidewalk in January can orient the inner compass—and drive home why there is life on planet Earth. Nick Paumgarten, The New Yorker, "How Restaurants Survive the Long Pandemic Winter," 22 Feb. 2021 In the premiere, those replays help to establish the core characters, while underlining a thematic point about how everyone is the star of their own story and can be oblivious to what is happening right next to them. Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone, "‘Generation’ Tries to Capture the Chaos of Teen Angst," 11 Mar. 2021

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

6 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Oblivious.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oblivious. Accessed 12 Apr. 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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