verb (used with object)


an act or instance of neglecting; disregard; negligence: The neglect of the property was shameful.
the fact or state of being neglected: a beauty marred by neglect.

Origin of neglect

1520–30; < 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
Related formsne·glect·ed·ly, adverbne·glect·ed·ness, nounne·glect·er, ne·glec·tor, nouno·ver·ne·glect, verb (used with object)pre·ne·glect, verb (used with object)qua·si-ne·glect·ed, adjectiveself-ne·glect, adjectiveself-ne·glect·ing, adjectiveun·ne·glect·ed, adjective

Synonyms for neglect

1. ignore. See slight. 6, 7. default, inattention, heedlessness. 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.

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

Examples from the Web for neglected

Contemporary Examples of neglected

Historical Examples of neglected

  • Why he neglected to include the way of a maid with a man is not at once apparent.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Did I tell you that her heart went out especially after the neglected?

  • Here was an opportunity not to be neglected, and it was eagerly seized upon.

    The Roof of France

    Matilda Betham-Edwards

  • The hamlet itself, like most villages of the Lozre, has a neglected appearance.

    The Roof of France

    Matilda Betham-Edwards

  • He commands that this should be done, and by no means be neglected and despised.

British Dictionary definitions for neglected


verb (tr)

to fail to give due care, attention, or time toto neglect a child
to fail (to do something) through thoughtlessness or carelessnesshe neglected to tell her
to ignore or disregardshe neglected his frantic signals


lack of due care or attention; negligencethe child starved through neglect
the act or an instance of neglecting or the state of being neglected
Derived Formsneglecter or neglector, noun

Word Origin for neglect

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

"not treated with proper attention," c.1600, past participle adjective from neglect (v.).



1520s, from Latin neglectus, past participle of neglegere "to make light of, disregard, be indifferent to, not heed, not trouble oneself about," literally "not to pick up," variant of neclegere, from Old Latin nec "not" (see deny) + legere "pick up, select" (see lecture (n.)). Related: Neglected; neglecting.



1580s, from neglect (v.) or from Latin neglectus "a neglecting," noun use of past participle of neglegere.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper