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 Some might be oblivious to or unwilling to observe social distancing and the coughing/sneezing hygiene. Bruce Selcraig, ExpressNews.com, "VIA might cut San Antonio area bus service by 25 percent for driver safety," 18 Mar. 2020 As always, the star seemed defiant, oblivious to his troubles -- and pathological. Jim Derogatis, Billboard, "Jim DeRogatis' 'Soulless: The Case Against R. Kelly': Exclusive Book Excerpt," 23 May 2019 Either way, most digital Independent consumers and the 1.4m Londoners who pick up the Standard of an evening will remain oblivious. The Economist, "Britain investigates Saudi influence on two of its newspapers," 5 July 2019 Not that the bigger names have remained oblivious to L.A.’s figurative boom. Dodie Kazanjian, Vogue, "As Frieze Los Angeles Opens, Three Young California Artists Are Reinventing What Figurative Painting Can Be," 15 Feb. 2019 Many people exhibit what’s called the bias blind spot, or the tendency to see clearly that other people’s behavior isn’t optimal while remaining oblivious to our own shortcomings. Jason Zweig, WSJ, "Dear Investor, That Cocky Voice in Your Head Is Wrong," 24 Aug. 2018 Getting ready for her star turn on the float, the Holder's 9-year-old daughter seemed oblivious to what others might think. Emanuella Grinberg, CNN, "Polyamorous relationships: When three isn't a crowd," 28 Jan. 2020 His parents seemed oblivious to the obvious disturbance. oregonlive, "Dear Annie: People who don’t use headphones in public are giving traveler a headache," 19 Dec. 2019 Patricia seemed oblivious Wednesday when a reporter asked if the Lions' process was similar to the complete teardown the Philadelphia 76ers undertook in an effort to build one of the better teams in the NBA. Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press, "Matt Patricia won't call Detroit Lions a rebuild: 'We'll worry about next year, next year'," 11 Dec. 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

3 Apr 2020

Cite this Entry

“Oblivious.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oblivious. Accessed 7 Apr. 2020.

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More Definitions for oblivious

oblivious

adjective
How to pronounce oblivious (audio)

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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