Definition of neglect in English:

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Pronunciation: /nɪˈɡlɛkt/


[with object]
1Fail to care for properly: the old churchyard has been sadly neglected
More example sentences
  • Small wonder that sometimes patients slip through the net of care and are shamefully neglected.
  • Most of your wedding plans will focus on the practical details, but take care not to neglect yourself in the process.
  • Keepers initially feared that first-time mother Kamlesh may have neglected the infants or failed to bond with them.
fail to look after, fail to care for, fail to provide for, leave alone, abandon
archaic forsake
uncared for, mistreated, abandoned, forsaken
run down, derelict, dilapidated, tumbledown, ramshackle, untended, unmaintained;
overgrown, uncultivated, unweeded, wild
Australian/New Zealand informal rumpty
rare weedgrown
1.1Not pay proper attention to; disregard: you neglect our advice at your peril
More example sentences
  • He cooks up a theory that implies that record collectors collect while neglecting other areas of their lives that require attention.
  • As such, we may pay close attention to our physical health while neglecting other areas of human experience.
  • For example, avoiding problems results in a worker becoming apathetic, by not bringing work problems to the attention of supervisors or neglecting their responsibilities.
pay little/no attention to, let slide, not attend to, be remiss about, be lax about, leave undone, lose sight of, skimp on, shirk, skip
disregard, ignore, pay no attention to, take no notice of, pay no heed to, discount, set aside, overlook, turn a deaf ear to, throw to the winds;
disdain, pass over, pass by, scorn, slight, spurn, rebuff, turn one's back on
disregarded, forgotten, overlooked, ignored, unrecognized, unnoticed, unsung, underestimated, undervalued, unappreciated, passed over, spurned;
out in the cold
1.2 [with infinitive] Fail to do something: he neglected to write to her
More example sentences
  • She should have felt those petals, but sorry, this author neglected to write that detail.
  • If you provide enough disk storage, an entire backup run can proceed on schedule even when a tape drive fails or when somebody neglects to load the expected tapes.
  • During the rigid examinations, inspectors regularly fail the trainees for neglecting to clip all strings out of the inside of their shirt pockets and failing to shine both sides of their brass belt buckles.
fail, omit, forget, not remember
archaic pretermit


[mass noun]
1The state of being uncared for: the place had a hopeless air of neglect
More example sentences
  • Nothing looked the same and a vague air of neglect and disrepair hung over the streets, businesses, and homes.
  • Children born into trauma, loss, deprivation and neglect, begin this way.
  • I think the council could do more to prevent this kind of vandalism and dispel the air of neglect which pervades this allotment.
disrepair, dilapidation, deterioration, shabbiness, disuse, abandonment
rare desuetude
1.1The action of not taking proper care of someone or something: she was accused of child neglect
More example sentences
  • A family told of their anguish last night after an inquest jury found neglect at a Sheffield care home had contributed to the tragic death of a stroke patient hours after his emergency buzzer was taken away.
  • This social neglect to take care of our elderly is seriously eroding the international image of the nation as the world's 12 th largest economic power.
  • Disabled adults were subjected to a horrifying catalogue of abuse and neglect at a Yorkshire care home, a court heard yesterday.
1.2Failure to do something: he was reported for neglect of duty
More example sentences
  • I only hope that no one was injured because of the brief and regretted irresponsible neglect of my Civic Duty in reporting that which I believe to be criminal.
  • Oil contamination would result from neglect of compressor maintenance, leading to mechanical failure.
  • Earlier this year Janet and supporters marched on Downing Street in October to demand a public inquiry into Christopher's death after five police officers were cleared of neglect of duty.
negligence, failure to take proper care, lack of proper care and attention, dereliction of duty, non-performance/non-fulfilment of duty, failure to take proper action, remissness, neglectfulness, carelessness, heedlessness, lack of concern, unconcern, laxity, laxness, slackness, irresponsibility;
Scottish Law  culpa
formal delinquency


Early 16th century: from Latin neglect- 'disregarded', from the verb neglegere, from neg- 'not' + legere 'choose, pick up'.

Words that rhyme with neglect

affect, bisect, bull-necked, collect, confect, connect, correct, defect, deflect, deject, detect, direct, effect, eject, elect, erect, expect, infect, inflect, inject, inspect, interconnect, interject, intersect, misdirect, object, perfect, project, prospect, protect, reflect, reject, respect, resurrect, sect, select, subject, suspect, transect, unchecked, Utrecht

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: neg|lect

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