[neg-li-juh ns]


the quality, fact, or result of being negligent; neglect: negligence in discharging one's responsibilities.
an instance of being negligent: a downfall brought about by many negligences.
Law. the failure to exercise that degree of care that, in the circumstances, the law requires for the protection of other persons or those interests of other persons that may be injuriously affected by the want of such care.


Law. pertaining to or involving a civil action for compensation for damages filed by a person who claims to have suffered an injury or loss in an accident caused by another's negligence: a negligence suit; a large negligence award.

Origin of negligence

1300–50; Middle English, variant of necligence < Latin necligentia. See negligent, -ence
Related formsnon·neg·li·gence, nouno·ver·neg·li·gence, nounpre·neg·li·gence, nounsu·per·neg·li·gence, noun

Synonyms for negligence

1. See neglect. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for negligence

Contemporary Examples of negligence

Historical Examples of negligence

  • The Athenian generals did not fail to take advantage of this negligence.

  • His negligence on the other hand has been too conspicuous in the affair of Cn.

  • The charm of that style consists in the negligence with which the paint is applied.

    The Memoires of Casanova, Complete

    Jacques Casanova de Seingalt

  • He instantly summoned the servants, and took them to task for their negligence.

    The Masked Bridal

    Mrs. Georgie Sheldon

  • But the Vice Consul, by his negligence, prolonged our misfortunes.

    Perils and Captivity

    Charlotte-Adlade [ne Picard] Dard

British Dictionary definitions for negligence



the state or quality of being negligent
a negligent act
law a civil wrong whereby a person or party is in breach of a legal duty of care to another which results in loss or injury to the claimant
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 negligence

mid-14c., from Old French negligence "negligence, sloth; injury, injustice" (12c.), and directly from Latin neclegentia, neglegentia "carelessness, heedlessness, neglect," from neglegentem (nominative neglegens) "heedless, careless, unconcerned," present participle of neglegere "to neglect" (see neglect (v.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper