verb (used with object)


an act or instance of neglecting; disregard; negligence: The neglect of the property was shameful.
the fact or state of being neglected: a beauty marred by neglect.

Origin of neglect

1520–30; < Latin neglēctus, variant of neclēctus (past participle of neglegere, neclegere to disregard, ignore, slight), equivalent to nec not + leg-, base of legere to pick up + -tus past participle suffix
Related formsne·glect·ed·ly, adverbne·glect·ed·ness, nounne·glect·er, ne·glec·tor, nouno·ver·ne·glect, verb (used with object)pre·ne·glect, verb (used with object)qua·si-ne·glect·ed, adjectiveself-ne·glect, adjectiveself-ne·glect·ing, adjectiveun·ne·glect·ed, adjective

Synonyms for neglect

1. ignore. See slight. 6, 7. default, inattention, heedlessness. Neglect, dereliction, negligence, remissness imply carelessness, failure, or some important omission in the performance of one's duty, a task, etc. Neglect and negligence are occasionally interchangeable, but neglect commonly refers to an instance, negligence to the habit or trait, of failing to attend to or perform what is expected or required: gross neglect of duty; negligence in handling traffic problems. Dereliction implies culpable or reprehensible neglect or failure in the performance of duty: dereliction in a position of responsibility. Remissness implies the omission or the careless or indifferent performance of a duty: remissness in filing a report on the accident.

Antonyms for neglect Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for self-neglect

Historical Examples of self-neglect

  • Louis, you are called from the happiness of self-enjoyment to that of self-neglect.

  • But is she to obtain and exhibit self-forgetfulness by self-culture, or self-neglect?

    A New Atmosphere

    Gail Hamilton

  • He could not understand by what miracle of self-neglect he had fallen into so perilous an abyss.

    He Knew He Was Right

    Anthony Trollope

  • It was utterly unfair to thrust that natural penalty of prejudice and of self-neglect on to the shoulders of others.

  • But these glories are withheld from him who is guilty of self-neglect, for they are not wont to blaze forth unbidden.

British Dictionary definitions for self-neglect


verb (tr)

to fail to give due care, attention, or time toto neglect a child
to fail (to do something) through thoughtlessness or carelessnesshe neglected to tell her
to ignore or disregardshe neglected his frantic signals


lack of due care or attention; negligencethe child starved through neglect
the act or an instance of neglecting or the state of being neglected
Derived Formsneglecter or neglector, noun

Word Origin for neglect

C16: from Latin neglegere to neglect, from nec not + legere to select
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 self-neglect



1520s, from Latin neglectus, past participle of neglegere "to make light of, disregard, be indifferent to, not heed, not trouble oneself about," literally "not to pick up," variant of neclegere, from Old Latin nec "not" (see deny) + legere "pick up, select" (see lecture (n.)). Related: Neglected; neglecting.



1580s, from neglect (v.) or from Latin neglectus "a neglecting," noun use of past participle of neglegere.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper