- Ambivalent; unconcerned; uninterested, apathetic.
- Synonyms: insouciant, nonchalant; see also Thesaurus:apathetic
- He was indifferent to the proposal, since it didn’t affect him, either way.
- 1815 December (indicated as 1816), [Jane Austen], chapter XVI, in Emma: […], volume II, London: […] [Charles Roworth and James Moyes] for John Murray, →OCLC:
- “I must not hope to be ever situated as you are, in the midst of every dearest connexion, and therefore I cannot expect that simply growing older should make me indifferent about letters.” / “Indifferent! Oh! no—I never conceived you could become indifferent. Letters are no matter of indifference; they are generally a very positive curse.”
- 1933 January 9, George Orwell [pseudonym; Eric Arthur Blair], chapter III, in Down and Out in Paris and London, London: Victor Gollancz […], →OCLC:
- When you have a hundred francs in the world you are liable to the most craven panics. When you have only three francs you are quite indifferent; for three francs will feed you till tomorrow, and you cannot think further than that. You are bored, but you are not afraid.
- Indicating or reflecting a lack of concern or care.
- Synonyms: laid-back, pococurante; see also Thesaurus:carefree
- She responded with an indifferent shrug.
- 1886 May, Thomas Hardy, chapter XXV, in The Mayor of Casterbridge: The Life and Death of a Man of Character. […], volumes (please specify |volume=I or II), London: Smith, Elder & Co., […], →OCLC:
- Donald appeared not to see her at all, and answered her wise little remarks with curtly indifferent monosyllables […]
- Mediocre (usually used negatively in modern usage).
- Synonyms: lackluster, ordinary; see also Thesaurus:mediocre
- The long distance and the indifferent roads made the journey impossible.
- The performance of Blue Jays has been indifferent this season.
- 1749, Henry Fielding, chapter 9, in The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, volumes (please specify |volume=I to VI), London: A[ndrew] Millar, […], →OCLC, book 10, page 275:
- 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.
- Having no preference.
- I am indifferent between the two plans.
- 1933 September, H[erbert] G[eorge] Wells, “Intellectual Antagonism to the Modern State”, in The Shape of Things to Come, 1st American edition, New York, N.Y.: The Macmillan Company, →OCLC, 3rd book (The World Renascence: The Birth of the Modern State), page 302:
- The scientific worker aims at knowledge and is quite indifferent whether people like or dislike the knowledge he produces.
- (dated) Unbiased, impartial, judging fairly.
- Synonym: see disinterested § Synonyms
- 1955, Bernard Bailyn, The New England Merchants In The Seventeenth Century, Harvard University Press, page 48:
- On October 7, 1640, the Massachusetts General Court attempted to solve the problem by a law stating that property seized for debts was to be assessed "at such prizes [prices] as the same shalbee valewed [shall be valued] at by 3 understanding and indifferent men, to bee chosen, the one by the creditor, another by the debtor, and the third by the marshall […]"
- Not making a difference; without significance or importance.
- Synonyms: negligible, unimportant; see also Thesaurus:insignificant
- 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.
- 1599 (first performance), William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Iulius Cæsar”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act I, scene iii]:
- […] But I am arm’d, / And dangers are to me indifferent.
- (mechanics) Being in the state of neutral equilibrium.
- (obsolete) Not different, matching.
- c. 1590–1592 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Taming of the Shrew”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act IV, scene i]:
- […] let their heads be sleekly comb’d, their blue coats brush’d and their garters of an indifferent knit
Related terms edit
mediocre, usually used negatively
having no preference
indifferent (plural indifferents)
- A person who is indifferent or apathetic.
- (obsolete) To some extent, in some degree (intermediate between very and not at all); moderately, tolerably, fairly.
- Synonyms: see Thesaurus:moderately
- The face of the Moon appearing to me to be full of indifferent high mountains.
- (obsolete) Without distinction or preference for some over others.
- 1593, anonymous author, The Life and Death of Iacke Straw […], Act III:
- Newton. My Maſters, you that be the chiefeſt of the rout,
The King intreats you kindly here by me,
To come and ſpeake with him a word or two.
Iacke Straw. Sirra, if the King would any thinge with vs,
Tell him the way is indifferent to meete vs.
Newton. You are too many to be talkt with all, […]
Usage notes edit
- Now obsolete, but very common c. 1600-1730.