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 Daily operations are happening in the dark, and leaders are often oblivious to what's happening on the ground. Kit Kyte, Forbes, 11 Oct. 2021 Both parents, in turn, are oblivious to their four children, as the eldest three begin to fall into disrepair in various historically appropriate ways. Merve Emre, Vulture, 30 Sep. 2021 Like many San Diegans, Apodaca was sometimes oblivious to just how many memorials, statues, busts, tributes and pieces of public art were devoted to San Diego’s relationship with the U.S. military. San Diego Union-Tribune, 29 Aug. 2021 Pelak, who served in Iraq, said the emotions pouring out of him feel like a return from combat: a mix of pride, frustration and the feeling that most Americans are oblivious to the human disaster in the making. Jonathan Baran, Alex Horton And Elizabeth Dwoskin, Anchorage Daily News, 27 Aug. 2021 Pelak, who served in Iraq, said the emotions pouring out of him feel like a return from combat: a mix of pride, frustration, and the feeling that most Americans are oblivious to the human disaster in the making. BostonGlobe.com, 26 Aug. 2021 Pelak, who served in Iraq, said the emotions pouring out of him feel like a return from combat: a mix of pride, frustration and the feeling that most Americans are oblivious to the human disaster in the making. Washington Post, 26 Aug. 2021 In the Lifetime movie, which also stars and is produced by Vivica A. Fox,Harry plays a high school principal who is oblivious to the sinister acts committed by one of her students. Essence, 25 Aug. 2021 American leaders have been oblivious to their culpability for the deteriorating situation and for undermining the will of the Afghan security forces. Hy Rothstein, WSJ, 22 Aug. 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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Dictionary Entries Near oblivious

oblivionize

oblivious

obliviscence

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Statistics for oblivious

Last Updated

15 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Oblivious.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oblivious. Accessed 17 Oct. 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

More from Merriam-Webster on oblivious

Nglish: Translation of oblivious for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of oblivious for Arabic Speakers

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