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From Old French indifferent, from Latin indifferens


  • IPA(key): /ɪnˈdɪf.ɹənt/, /ɪnˈdɪf.ə.ɹənt/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: in‧dif‧fer‧ent


indifferent (comparative more indifferent, superlative most indifferent)

  1. Not caring or concerned; uninterested, apathetic.
    He was indifferent to the proposal, since it didn't affect him, either way.
  2. Mediocre, usually used negatively in modern usage.
    The long distance and the indifferent roads made the journey impossible.
    The performance of Blue Jays has been indifferent this season.
    • When Mrs Honour had made her report from the landlord, Sophia, with much difficulty, procured some indifferent horses, which brought her to the inn where Jones had been confined rather by the misfortune of meeting with a surgeon than by having met with a broken head.
    • Sir Walter Scott
      The staterooms are in indifferent order.
  3. Having no preference or bias, being impartial.
    I am indifferent between the two plans.
    • Addison
      indifferent in his choice to sleep or die
  4. Not making a difference; without significance or importance.
    Even if one appliance consumes an indifferent amount of energy when left on stand-by overnight, together they can represent 10% of the electricity demand of a household.
    • Shakespeare
      Dangers are to me indifferent.
    • Jeremy Taylor
      Everything in the world is indifferent but sin.
    • Nathaniel Hawthorne
      His slightest and most indifferent acts [] were odious in the clergyman's sight.
  5. (mechanics) Being in the state of neutral equilibrium.





  1. (obsolete) To some extent, in some degree (intermediate between very and not at all); moderately, tolerably, fairly.
    The face of the Moon appearing to me to be full of indifferent high mountains...

Usage notes[edit]

  • Now obsolete, but very common c. 1600-1730.


Middle French[edit]


indifferent m (feminine singular indifferente, masculine plural indifferents, feminine plural indifferentes)

  1. indifferent; apathetic