not provident; lacking foresight; incautious; unwary.
neglecting to provide for future needs.

Origin of improvident

First recorded in 1505–15; im-2 + provident
Related formsim·prov·i·dence, nounim·prov·i·dent·ly, adverb

Synonyms for improvident

Antonyms for improvident Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for improvident

Contemporary Examples of improvident

  • Government nurtured these behemoths by weaving an improvident safety net, and by practicing crony capitalism.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Break Up the Banks?

    Megan McArdle

    February 11, 2013

  • The old elite worried that the masses were too improvident and seditious.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The New Heat Center

    Michael Lind

    January 19, 2009

Historical Examples of improvident

  • Therefore every improvident step will meet with terrible revenge.

  • But these lawless adventurers were as improvident as they were vicious and idle.

    King Philip

    John S. C. (John Stevens Cabot) Abbott

  • They are unstable, improvident, easily discouraged, easily led astray.

  • Was ever such an improvident, self-willed creature as this boy, Cupid?


    Effie Afton

  • His father is said to have had little ability, and to have been careless and improvident.

    American Men of Mind

    Burton E. Stevenson

British Dictionary definitions for improvident



not provident; thriftless, imprudent, or prodigal
heedless or incautious; rash
Derived Formsimprovidence, nounimprovidently, adverb
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

Word Origin and History for improvident

1510s, from im- "not" + provident. It retains a stronger connection with the "provide" aspect of Latin providere. Related: Improvidently.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper