Synonyms & Antonyms of neglect

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 the state of being unattended to or not cared for
  • for years the barn sat in neglect until one day it finally fell down

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2 the nonperformance of an assigned or expected action
  • your ongoing neglect of your health is going to land you in the hospital someday

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Synonyms & Antonyms of neglect (Entry 2 of 2)

1 to fail to give proper attention to
  • as usual the news media neglected the real issues of the campaign and focused on personalities

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2 to leave undone or unattended to especially through carelessness
  • I've neglected my garden, and now it's overgrown with weeds

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3 to miss the opportunity or obligation
  • conveniently, the job applicant neglected to mention his criminal record

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See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About neglect

How is the word neglect distinct from other similar verbs?

Some common synonyms of neglect are disregard, forget, ignore, overlook, and slight. While all these words mean "to pass over without giving due attention," neglect implies giving insufficient attention to something that merits one's attention.

habitually neglected his studies

When could disregard be used to replace neglect?

In some situations, the words disregard and neglect are roughly equivalent. However, disregard suggests voluntary inattention.

disregarded the wishes of his family

When would forget be a good substitute for neglect?

While the synonyms forget and neglect are close in meaning, forget may suggest either a willful ignoring or a failure to impress something on one's mind.

forget what others say

When is ignore a more appropriate choice than neglect?

The words ignore and neglect are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, ignore implies a failure to regard something obvious.

ignored the snide remark

When is it sensible to use overlook instead of neglect?

The synonyms overlook and neglect are sometimes interchangeable, but overlook suggests disregarding or ignoring through haste or lack of care.

in my rush I overlooked a key example

In what contexts can slight take the place of neglect?

The meanings of slight and neglect largely overlap; however, slight implies contemptuous or disdainful disregarding or omitting.

slighted several major authors in her survey

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Time Traveler for neglect

Time Traveler

The first known use of neglect was in 1529

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Cite this Entry

“Neglect.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Oct. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on neglect

Nglish: Translation of neglect for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of neglect for Arabic Speakers


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