[ ni-glekt-fuhl ]
/ nɪˈglɛkt fəl /
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See synonyms for: neglectful / neglectfully / neglectfulness on Thesaurus.com

characterized by neglect; disregardful; careless; negligent (often followed by of): neglectful of one's health.
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Origin of neglectful

First recorded in 1615–25; neglect + -ful



neglectful , negligible
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does neglectful mean?

Neglectful is used to describe people who have neglected someone or something, meaning they’ve failed to pay enough attention or have not done enough to provide proper care.

Neglectful is often followed by the word of and the person or thing being neglected, as in I’m afraid I’ve been neglectful of my duties. Neglectful can also be used to describe such a person’s actions, as in Their parenting is neglectful at best. 

Describing someone as neglectful of objects or things usually means that they haven’t maintained such things properly. To be neglectful of your car is to fail to make sure it gets the maintenance it needs to keep running properly. To be neglectful of your health is to fail to do anything to maintain it. To be neglectful of your duties is to disregard them, often due to being preoccupied with other things.

When it’s used in the context of people, neglectful implies a lack of attention and care. When you’re neglectful of a friend or romantic partner, it means you don’t spend enough time with them or you fail to consider or care about their emotional needs. When the word is used in relation to the care of children, it describes someone who has failed to properly care for them in a way that’s equivalent to mistreatment or abuse. The word negligent can be a synonym and is based on the same root.

The adjective neglectful can be used to describe a person who neglects or their actions. The word neglected can also be used as an adjective, as in neglected children. 

Example: After years of neglectful treatment, these pets are being adopted into loving homes.

Where does neglectful come from?

The first records of the word neglectful come from the 1600s. Its base word, neglect, comes from the Latin neclēctus, from the verb neglegere, meaning “to disregard, ignore, slight.”

Being neglectful of things typically involves letting them fall into a state of disrepair or decay. Being neglectful of people is often more serious, and can involve physical or emotional neglect or both. The opposite of being neglectful is being attentive and providing the proper care.

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What are some other forms related to neglectful

  • neglectfully (adverb)
  • neglectfulness (noun)
  • neglect (verb, noun)

What are some synonyms for neglectful?

What are some words that share a root or word element with neglectful

What are some words that often get used in discussing neglectful?

How is neglectful used in real life?

Neglectful can be used in a variety of situations. When it’s used in relation to children, it usually implies abuse.



Try using neglectful!

Which of the following actions could be described as neglectful

A. failing to give attention
B. failing to give proper care
C. failing to give emotional support
D. all of the above

How to use neglectful in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for neglectful

/ (nɪˈɡlɛktfʊl) /

(when postpositive, foll by of) not giving due care and attention (to); careless; heedless

Derived forms of neglectful

neglectfully, adverbneglectfulness, 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