• synonyms


[in-dif-er-uhns, -dif-ruhns]
  1. lack of interest or concern: We were shocked by their indifference toward poverty.
  2. unimportance; little or no concern: Whether or not to attend the party is a matter of indifference to him.
  3. the quality or condition of being indifferent.
  4. mediocre quality; mediocrity.
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Origin of indifference

1400–50; late Middle English, variant of indifferency < Latin indifferentia. See indifferent, -ence, -ency
Related formssu·per·in·dif·fer·ence, noun


1. Indifference, unconcern, listlessness, apathy, insensibility all imply lack of feeling. Indifference denotes an absence of feeling or interest; unconcern, an absence of concern or solicitude, a calm or cool indifference in the face of what might be expected to cause uneasiness or apprehension; listlessness, an absence of inclination or interest, a languid indifference to what is going on about one; apathy, a profound intellectual and emotional indifference suggestive of faculties either naturally sluggish or dulled by emotional disturbance, mental illness, or prolonged sickness; insensibility, an absence of capacity for feeling or of susceptibility to emotional influences.


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for indifferences

Historical Examples

  • Thoughts only, not dislikes, not indifferences, sundered them.

    The Shadow of Life

    Anne Douglas Sedgwick

  • Its emphases vary according to my own indifferences and ignorance as well as according to my own sympathies and knowledge.

  • I spoke with him from time to time about his absences and his indifferences, all to no avail.

    Warren Commission (11 of 26): Hearings Vol. XI (of 15)

    The President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy

  • They did not even settle down to what a witty Frenchman calls the "politeness of two indifferences."

  • Tolerance, according to the old lady's code, was the fruit of charity—Eva's tolerance was the fruit of indifferences.

    The Rubicon

    E. F. Benson

British Dictionary definitions for indifferences


  1. the fact or state of being indifferent; lack of care or concern
  2. lack of quality; mediocrity
  3. lack of importance; insignificance
  4. See principle of indifference
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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 indifferences



mid-15c., from Latin indifferentia "want of difference, similarity," noun of quality from indifferentem (see indifferent).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper