[uh-bliv-ee-uh s]


unmindful; unconscious; unaware (usually followed by of or to): She was oblivious of his admiration.
forgetful; without remembrance or memory: oblivious of my former failure.
Archaic. inducing forgetfulness.

Origin of oblivious

1400–50; late Middle English < Latin oblīviōsus forgetful, equivalent to oblīvī(scī) to for-get + -ōsus -ous
Related formsob·liv·i·ous·ly, adverbob·liv·i·ous·ness, nounself-ob·liv·i·ous, adjectivesem·i·ob·liv·i·ous, adjectivesem·i·ob·liv·i·ous·ly, adverbsem·i·ob·liv·i·ous·ness, nounun·ob·liv·i·ous, adjectiveun·ob·liv·i·ous·ly, adverbun·ob·liv·i·ous·ness, noun
Can be confusedoblivious obvious

Synonym study

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for oblivious

Contemporary Examples of oblivious

Historical Examples of oblivious

  • They quite blocked the pathway, oblivious to everything but their outraged feelings.


    W. A. Fraser

  • The good lady, oblivious to the humorous side of her greeting, flushed in anger.


    W. A. Fraser

  • Martin was now talking to himself, oblivious to his wife's presence, indifferent to her.


    Mr. and Mrs. Haldeman-Julius

  • And twice he had been oblivious to that token of their maturing understanding.

    The Black Bag

    Louis Joseph Vance

  • He tried to back away from her, oblivious to the fact that by his hold on her he dragged her after him.

    White Fang

    Jack London

British Dictionary definitions for oblivious



(foll by to or of) unaware or forgetful
Derived Formsobliviously, adverbobliviousness, noun


It was formerly considered incorrect to use oblivious to mean unaware, but this use is now acceptable
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 oblivious

mid-15c., from Latin obliviosus "forgetful, that easily forgets; producing forgetfulness," from oblivion (see oblivion). Meaning "unaware, unconscious (of something)" is from 1862, formerly regarded as erroneous, this is now the general meaning and the word has lost its original sense of "no longer aware or mindful." Properly should be used with to, not of. Related: Obliviously; obliviousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper