April 10, 2012
- negligible (adjective)
- What does it mean?
- : so small or unimportant as to deserve little or no attention
- How do you use it?
- The difference between the lockers is negligible—one is just a little closer to the cafeteria than the other.
- Are you a word wiz?
"Negligible" comes from the Latin word "neglegere," also written "neclegere." This word comes from "nec-," meaning "not" and "legere." Which of the following do you think is the meaning of "legere"?"Legere" means "to gather"—and something negligible is something not worth gathering. If this meaning is a little hard to see, it might help to know that "negligible" has a close relative in the word "neglect," which means "to give little attention or respect to." You can neglect what is negligible, because it's not really worth paying attention to. English has a number of words that come from "legere." In some, like "collect," the "gather" meaning is obvious. In others, like "legend" and "intelligent," it's not.