[ ni-glekt ]
See synonyms for: neglectneglectedneglectingneglects on

verb (used with object)
  1. to pay no attention or too little attention to; disregard or slight: The public neglected his genius for many years.

  2. to be remiss in the care or treatment of: to neglect one's family; to neglect one's appearance.

  1. to omit, through indifference or carelessness: to neglect to reply to an invitation.

  2. to fail to carry out or perform (orders, duties, etc.): to neglect the household chores.

  3. to fail to take or use: to neglect no precaution.

  1. an act or instance of neglecting; disregard; negligence: The neglect of the property was shameful.

  2. the fact or state of being neglected: a beauty marred by neglect.

Origin of neglect

First recorded in 1520–30; from Latin neglēctus, variant of neclēctus (past participle of neglegere, neclegere “to disregard, ignore, slight”), equivalent to nec “not” + leg-, base of legere “to pick up” + -tus past participle suffix

synonym study For neglect

1. See slight. 6, 7. Neglect, dereliction, negligence, remissness imply carelessness, failure, or some important omission in the performance of one's duty, a task, etc. Neglect and negligence are occasionally interchangeable, but neglect commonly refers to an instance, negligence to the habit or trait, of failing to attend to or perform what is expected or required: gross neglect of duty; negligence in handling traffic problems. Dereliction implies culpable or reprehensible neglect or failure in the performance of duty: dereliction in a position of responsibility. Remissness implies the omission or the careless or indifferent performance of a duty: remissness in filing a report on the accident.

Other words for neglect

Opposites for neglect

Other words from neglect

  • ne·glect·ed·ly, adverb
  • ne·glect·ed·ness, noun
  • ne·glect·er, ne·glec·tor, noun
  • o·ver·ne·glect, verb (used with object)
  • pre·ne·glect, verb (used with object)
  • qua·si-ne·glect·ed, adjective
  • self-ne·glect, adjective
  • self-ne·glect·ing, adjective
  • un·ne·glect·ed, adjective

Words Nearby neglect Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use neglect in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for neglect


/ (nɪˈɡlɛkt) /

  1. to fail to give due care, attention, or time to: to neglect a child

  2. to fail (to do something) through thoughtlessness or carelessness: he neglected to tell her

  1. to ignore or disregard: she neglected his frantic signals

  1. lack of due care or attention; negligence: the child starved through neglect

  2. the act or an instance of neglecting or the state of being neglected

Origin of neglect

C16: from Latin neglegere to neglect, from nec not + legere to select

Derived forms of neglect

  • neglecter or neglector, noun

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