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  1. guilty of or characterized by neglect, as of duty: negligent officials.
  2. lazily careless; offhand: a negligent wave of his manicured hand.
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Origin of negligent

1350–1400; Middle English, variant of necligent < Latin negligent-, necligent-, stem of negligēns, present participle of negligere, variant of neglegere to neglect; see -ent
Related formsneg·li·gent·ly, adverbnon·neg·li·gent, adjectivenon·neg·li·gent·ly, adverbo·ver·neg·li·gent, adjectiveo·ver·neg·li·gent·ly, adverbpre·neg·li·gent, adjectivequa·si-neg·li·gent, adjectivesu·per·neg·li·gent, adjectivesu·per·neg·li·gent·ly, adverbun·neg·li·gent, adjective


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for negligent


  1. habitually neglecting duties, responsibilities, etc; lacking attention, care, or concern; neglectful
  2. careless or nonchalant
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Derived Formsnegligently, adverb
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 negligent


late 14c., from Old French negligent "careless, negligent" (13c.) or directly from Latin negligentem "heedless, careless, unconcerned" (see negligence). Related: Negligently.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper