diligent

adjective
dil·​i·​gent | \ ˈdi-lə-jənt How to pronounce diligent (audio) \

Definition of diligent

: characterized by steady, earnest, and energetic effort : painstaking a diligent worker

Other Words from diligent

diligently adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for diligent

busy, industrious, diligent, assiduous, sedulous mean actively engaged or occupied. busy chiefly stresses activity as opposed to idleness or leisure. too busy to spend time with the children industrious implies characteristic or habitual devotion to work. industrious employees diligent suggests earnest application to some specific object or pursuit. very diligent in her pursuit of a degree assiduous stresses careful and unremitting application. assiduous practice sedulous implies painstaking and persevering application. a sedulous investigation of the murder

Did you know?

You're more likely to be diligent about something if you love doing it. The etymology of diligent reflects the fact that affection can lead to energetic effort. The word, which entered English in the 14th century by way of Anglo-French, descends from the Latin verb diligere, meaning "to value or esteem highly" or "to love." The Latin diligere was formed by adding the di- prefix (from dis-, "apart") to the verb legere, an ancestor of the English legend, meaning "to gather, select" or "to read." Of course, you don't need to care for the task at hand in order to be diligent, but it certainly does help!

Examples of diligent in a Sentence

The American intelligence community's single greatest failing is its lack of good "humint"—human intelligence, the dirty, diligent, shoe-leather penetration of terror networks. — Johanna McGeary, Time, 15 Oct. 2001 Like any diligent foreign correspondent, he attends the briefings and collects face time with the officials, but he knows it's the citizens (the upstanding as well as the jailers, the whores, the black marketeers and the smugglers) who tell the truth … Rolling Stone, 19 Sept. 1996 He was a fourth-year drama student at UCLA and diligent about such valuable actorly exercises as eavesdropping, spying, and telling complicated lies to fellow passengers on airplanes. — Michael Chabon, A Model World and Other Stories, 1991 In spite of diligent work as editor, hack writer, sea captain, and assorted other trades, he wound up poor. — Monroe K. Spears, American Ambitions, 1987 a student who has been unceasingly diligent in pursuit of a degree in mathematics
See More
Recent Examples on the Web To begin with, apply your retinoid two to three times per week and gradually build up to every night or every other night, pair it with an acne-friendly moisturizer to reduce irritation, and be diligent about applying sunscreen in the morning. Krissy Brady, SELF, 7 Dec. 2021 Unless customers are diligent and persistent enough to identify these unfair fees and mount a defense against them, most of them will end up paying the price without putting up a fight. Frederick Daso, Forbes, 31 Oct. 2021 By that measure, California’s diligent policies have helped the state avert a larger disaster. Aidin Vaziri, San Francisco Chronicle, 15 Dec. 2021 Miami made that mistake early, and have become diligent about altering the team’s approach the past few weeks. Omar Kelly, sun-sentinel.com, 2 Dec. 2021 This is why Google, researchers, and users have to be increasingly diligent when installing apps. Jacob Siegal, BGR, 1 Dec. 2021 Become the master of your calendar with diligent time blocking. Jon Dwoskin, Forbes, 9 Nov. 2021 Qualified immunity is essential to effective and diligent policing. Tom Cotton, National Review, 27 Oct. 2021 Its fall is a testament to the power of focused, diligent investigative reporting. New York Times, 11 July 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'diligent.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of diligent

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for diligent

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin diligent-, diligens, from present participle of diligere to esteem, love, from di- (from dis- apart) + legere to select — more at legend

Learn More About diligent

Time Traveler for diligent

Time Traveler

The first known use of diligent was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Listen to Our Podcast About diligent

Dictionary Entries Near diligent

diligency

diligent

diligentness

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for diligent

Last Updated

10 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Diligent.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/diligent. Accessed 19 Jan. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for diligent

diligent

adjective
dil·​i·​gent | \ ˈdi-lə-jənt How to pronounce diligent (audio) \

Kids Definition of diligent

: showing steady and earnest care and hard work a diligent search

Other Words from diligent

diligently adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on diligent

Nglish: Translation of diligent for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of diligent for Arabic Speakers

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!