having or showing a disposition to avoid exertion; slothful: an indolent person.
Pathology. causing little or no pain; inactive or relatively benign: an indolent ulcer that is not painful and is slow to heal.

Origin of indolent

1655–65; < Latin indolent- (stem of indolēns), equivalent to in- in-3 + dolent- (stem of dolēns) present participle of dolēre to be pain-ful, be in pain; see dole2, -ent
Related formsin·do·lent·ly, adverb

Synonyms for indolent Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for indolent

Contemporary Examples of indolent

  • I mean, who else could possibly be as indolent as a teachers' union member?

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Dumbest Journalism Passage of All Time

    Michael Tomasky

    June 18, 2012

  • This kind of cancer can be so indolent that patients often die with it than from it.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Jobs’s Unorthodox Treatment

    Sharon Begley

    October 6, 2011

  • In part, that is because neuroendocrine cancers tend to be quite slow growing, or indolent.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Jobs’s Unorthodox Treatment

    Sharon Begley

    October 6, 2011

  • Salon wrote: “Hilton is the one everyone has come to see, and her indolent, dull coolness does not disappoint.”

    The Daily Beast logo
    Paris Hilton: End of an Era?

    Tricia Romano

    August 26, 2011

  • Instead, he cut to a passage that imagined the most indolent couple imaginable, Linda Evangelista and Goncharov's Ilya Oblomov.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Celebrating World Literature

    Emily Stokes

    April 30, 2010

Historical Examples of indolent

  • In his indolent, rather selfish way, he was much in love with his wife.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • And he was also indolent, with the indolence which is so often the secret of good nature.

    The Secret Agent

    Joseph Conrad

  • I also was too indolent--truly, not figuratively; the book was never written.

    In the Valley

    Harold Frederic

  • None but the frivolous or the indolent will say, “I am too old to learn.”


    Samuel Smiles

  • All at once, his mind had become too indolent to do any more thinking.

    The Market-Place

    Harold Frederic

British Dictionary definitions for indolent



disliking work or effort; lazy; idle
pathol causing little painan indolent tumour
(esp of a painless ulcer) slow to heal
Derived Formsindolence, nounindolently, adverb

Word Origin for indolent

C17: from Latin indolēns not feeling pain, from in- 1 + dolēns, from dolēre to grieve, cause distress
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 indolent

1660s, "painless," from Late Latin indolentem (see indolence). Sense of "living easily" is 1710, from French indolent. Related: Indolently.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

indolent in Medicine




Disinclined to exert oneself; habitually lazy.
Causing little or no pain, as a tumor.
Slow to heal, grow, or develop, as an ulcer; inactive.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.