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[fer-get-fuh l] /fərˈgɛt fəl/
apt to forget; that forgets:
a forgetful person.
heedless or neglectful (often followed by of):
to be forgetful of others.
bringing on oblivion:
forgetful slumber.
Origin of forgetful
Middle English word dating back to 1350-1400; See origin at forget, -ful
Related forms
forgetfully, adverb
forgetfulness, noun
quasi-forgetful, adjective
quasi-forgetfully, adverb
unforgetful, adjective
unforgetfully, adverb
unforgetfulness, noun
1. absent-minded, inattentive, unmindful. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for forgetful
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • You see, Uncle Paul, you are growing old and forgetful, and might lock me in again.

    Brave and Bold Horatio Alger
  • In case I was forgetful, please let me impress the fact upon you now.

    The Avenger E. Phillips Oppenheim
  • The horror of it all was too much for her; in her great dread and sorrow she was forgetful of all beside.

    The Downfall Emile Zola
  • And again, if he is forgetful and retains nothing of what he learns, will he not be an empty vessel?

    The Republic Plato
  • He proved this by wasting no time in telling the forgetful Jackson what he thought of him.

    The Depot Master Joseph C. Lincoln
  • And often, forgetful of measure and order, he will express not that which is truest, but that which is strongest.

    Gorgias Plato
  • His Royal Highness is not forgetful of the duties of his position.

  • You're growing old and forgetful, so don't get foolish and flighty.

    Paul Prescott's Charge Horatio Alger
British Dictionary definitions for forgetful


tending to forget
(often postpositive) foll by of. inattentive (to) or neglectful (of)
(poetic) causing loss of memory
Derived Forms
forgetfully, adverb
forgetfulness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for forgetful

late 14c., from forget + -ful. Related: Forgetfully; forgetfulness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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