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 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 But Mr Sisi’s government seems oblivious to their impact on the poor. The Economist, "Egypt is reforming its economy, but poverty is rising," 8 Aug. 2019 These verdant nooks are where Dolbeer’s disciples use an array of sophisticated hardware to frighten, frustrate, and sometimes slaughter their winged adversaries, all in the name of protecting millions of flyers who are oblivious to the struggle. Brendan I. Koerner, Wired, "It's a Bird! It's a Plane! The Midair Collisions Menacing Air Travel," 24 Jan. 2020 The 3-year-old enjoyed her gift with such delight and was oblivious to any of the silliness that occurred. Washington Post, "Miss Manners: Great-aunt put off by ‘cute’ tradition," 10 Jan. 2020 The proponents of Prop CC, like everyone in the TABOR-bashing industrial complex, detest the voter consent guaranteed by TABOR, and seem oblivious to why taxpayers demand consent. Jon Caldara, The Denver Post, "Caldara: Prop CC’s defeat offers ray of hope for Colorado conservatives," 8 Nov. 2019 As oblivious as Jones was to the public address announcer mentioning her milestone, Evans was equally unconcerned with her shooting percentage. Cameron Teague Robinson, The Courier-Journal, "Led by Jazmine Jones' career high, Louisville defeats Duke to win sixth straight," 5 Jan. 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

21 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Oblivious.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/obliviousness. Accessed 23 Feb. 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

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