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[uh-bliv-ee-uh s] /əˈblɪv i əs/
unmindful; unconscious; unaware (usually followed by of or to):
She was oblivious of his admiration.
forgetful; without remembrance or memory:
oblivious of my former failure.
Archaic. inducing forgetfulness.
Origin of oblivious
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English < Latin oblīviōsus forgetful, equivalent to oblīvī(scī) to for-get + -ōsus -ous
Related forms
obliviously, adverb
obliviousness, noun
self-oblivious, adjective
semioblivious, adjective
semiobliviously, adverb
semiobliviousness, noun
unoblivious, adjective
unobliviously, adverb
unobliviousness, noun
Can be confused
oblivious, obvious.
Synonym Study
2. See absent-minded. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for obliviously
Historical Examples
  • Seeing that he lingered there obliviously, she wished to regain her hold upon him.

    His Masterpiece Emile Zola
  • NOW I like a fool—a genuine fool, who is obliviously unconscious of the fact!

    Ginger-Snaps Fanny Fern
  • "Come, children, dinner will be cold," said Mrs. Hewitt obliviously.

    The Wishing-Ring Man Margaret Widdemer
  • Was he after all not so obliviously content as he seemed in his fine new surroundings?

    Why Joan? Eleanor Mercein Kelly
  • "I wish I knew how to be sen-ten-tious," said Barbara, obliviously.

    John March, Southerner George W. Cable
  • It was a nice cake, powdered with almonds, but she ate it obliviously.

    The Palace of Darkened Windows Mary Hastings Bradley
  • As the computed impact time arrived, Lockley obliviously dumped coffee into his tin coffeepot and put it back on the flames.

    Operation Terror William Fitzgerald Jenkins
  • The policeman gave Jacob a hard look as he passed him, but the office boy was obliviously counting his pictures.

    The Incendiary W. A. (William Augustine) Leahy
  • "I'll be back in just a moment," said John obliviously, and went with what seemed to Joy unnecessary docility.

    The Wishing-Ring Man Margaret Widdemer
British Dictionary definitions for obliviously


foll by to or of. unaware or forgetful
Derived Forms
obliviously, adverb
obliviousness, noun
Usage note
It was formerly considered incorrect to use oblivious to mean unaware, but this use is now acceptable
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 obliviously



mid-15c., from Latin obliviosus "forgetful, that easily forgets; producing forgetfulness," from oblivion (see oblivion). Meaning "unaware, unconscious (of something)" is from 1862, formerly regarded as erroneous, this is now the general meaning and the word has lost its original sense of "no longer aware or mindful." Properly should be used with to, not of. Related: Obliviously; obliviousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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