[in-dif-er-uhnt, -dif-ruhnt]
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  1. without interest or concern; not caring; apathetic: his indifferent attitude toward the suffering of others.
  2. having no bias, prejudice, or preference; impartial; disinterested.
  3. neither good nor bad in character or quality; average; routine: an indifferent specimen.
  4. not particularly good, important, etc.; unremarkable; unnotable: an indifferent success; an indifferent performance.
  5. of only moderate amount, extent, etc.
  6. not making a difference, or mattering, one way or the other.
  7. immaterial or unimportant.
  8. not essential or obligatory, as an observance.
  9. making no difference or distinction, as between persons or things: indifferent justice.
  10. neutral in chemical, electric, or magnetic quality.
  11. Biology. not differentiated or specialized, as cells or tissues.
  1. an ethically or morally indifferent act.
  2. a person who is indifferent, especially in matters of religion or politics.
  1. Archaic. indifferently: I am indifferent well.

Origin of indifferent

1350–1400; Middle English (adj.) < Latin indifferent- (stem of indifferēns). See in-3, different
Related formsin·dif·fer·ent·ly, adverbqua·si-in·dif·fer·ent, adjectivequa·si-in·dif·fer·ent·ly, adverbsu·per·in·dif·fer·ent, adjectivesu·per·in·dif·fer·ent·ly, adverb

Synonyms for indifferent

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for indifferent


  1. (often foll by to) showing no care or concern; uninterestedhe was indifferent to my pleas
  2. unimportant; immaterial
    1. of only average or moderate size, extent, quality, etc
    2. not at all good; poor
  3. showing or having no preferences; impartial
  4. biology
    1. (of cells or tissues) not differentiated or specialized
    2. (of a species) not found in any particular community
Derived Formsindifferently, adverb

Word Origin for indifferent

C14: from Latin indifferēns making no distinction
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 indifferent

late 14c., "unbiased," from Old French indifferent "impartial" or directly from Latin indifferentem (nominative indifferens) "not differing, not particular, of not consequence, neither good nor evil," from in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + differens, present participle of differre "set apart" (see differ). Extended sense of "apathetic" first recorded early 15c.; that of "neither good nor bad" 1530s, on notion of "neither more nor less advantageous."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

indifferent in Medicine


[ĭn-dĭfər-ənt, -dĭfrənt]
  1. Characterized by a lack of partiality; unbiased.
  2. Not active or involved; neutral.
  3. Undifferentiated, as cells or tissue.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.