[uh-bliv-ee-uh s]
See more synonyms for oblivious on Thesaurus.com
  1. unmindful; unconscious; unaware (usually followed by of or to): She was oblivious of his admiration.
  2. forgetful; without remembrance or memory: oblivious of my former failure.
  3. 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. 2018

Examples from the Web for obliviousness

Contemporary Examples of obliviousness

Historical Examples of obliviousness

  • Some one may say, Why then touch her in this obliviousness of her unfilled possibilities?

    The American Country Girl

    Martha Foote Crow

  • She felt blank, and excluded, as though they had thrust her out into the obliviousness of the night.


    Evelyn Scott

  • He followed them down the walk in a sweating agony of obliviousness, and climbed into the car with carefully normal lack of haste.


    Algirdas Jonas Budrys

  • She was calm-eyed and well-poised, and Lena hated her for the rest of her life for her obliviousness of the sordid.

    Jewel Weed

    Alice Ames Winter

  • When we remember what women are, the latter instance of obliviousness appears the more probable.

    Much Darker Days

    Andrew Lang (AKA A. Huge Longway)

British Dictionary definitions for obliviousness


  1. (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 obliviousness



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