The Meaning of Diligent: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of diligent? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word diligent, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word diligent mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language as well as other sources like American Heritage and Collins English dictionary, the word diligent is an adjective that describes a person who is characterized as steady, earnest, and having an energetic effort. Someone who is diligent is often very focused and committed to the task at hand. Someone could be a diligent worker, in which case they would be very focused and on top of it at their job. A diligent student would take notes, complete all of their homework and study for their exams and quizzes. The pronunciation of diligent is ˈdɪlɪdʒənt. Diligent is three syllables, dil-li-gent.

Numerous different languages contain their own words for diligent. You may notice that some of these words look and sound similar to diligent. These translations of diligent are called cognates, which are usually formed when two words have the same root or language of origin like Latin or Greek. This list of translations of diligent is provided by Word Sense.

  •  Czech: pilný‎ (masc.)
  •  Portuguese: diligente‎
  •  Spanish: diligente‎
  •  Scottish Gaelic: dèanadach‎
  •  Maori: urupū‎
  •  Welsh: diwyd‎
  •  Swedish: flitig‎, ihärdig‎, arbetsam‎
  •  Hebrew: חָרוּץ‎
  •  Armenian: աշխատասեր‎
  •  Latvian: centīgs‎, cītīgs‎, uzcītīgs‎
  •  Hungarian: szorgalmas‎, igyekvő‎
  •  Slovak: pilný‎, usilovný‎, pracovitý‎
  •  Romanian: harnic‎ (masc.), diligent‎
  •  Bokmål: arbeidsom‎
  •  Dutch: ijverig‎, vlijtig‎, toegewijd‎
  •  Hindi: मेहनती‎ (mehnatī)
  •  Danish: flittig‎, ihærdig‎, arbejdsom‎
  •  German: fleißig‎, arbeitsam‎, eifrig‎
  •  Japanese: 勤勉‎ (きんべん, kinben)
  •  Esperanto: diligenta‎
  •  French: industrieux‎ (masc.), diligent‎ (masc.)
  •  Italian: diligente‎
  •  Arabic: مُجْتَهِد‎
  •  Norwegian: flittig‎, iherdig‎
  •  Catalan: diligent‎
  •  Bulgarian: прилежен‎, усърден‎, старателен‎
  •  Interlingua: diligente‎
  •  Urdu: میہنتی‎ (mehnatī)
  •  Nynorsk: arbeidsam‎
  •  Khmer: លំអោត‎ (lum’aot), ស្រវាស្រទេញ‎ (srɑvaa sraa tīɲ), ឱហាត‎ (aohaat)
  •  Georgian: შრომისმოყვარე‎, ბეჯითი‎
  •  Russian: приле́жный‎ (masc.), усе́рдный‎ (masc.), трудолюби́вый‎ (masc.), работя́щий‎ (masc.), стара́тельный‎
  •  Ido: diligenta‎
  •  Mandarin: 刻苦‎ (kèkǔ), 耐勞‎, 耐劳‎ (nàiláo), 努力‎ (nǔlì), 勤奮‎, 勤勞‎ (qínfèn), 勤劳‎, 勤劳‎ (qínláo), 勤勉‎ (qínmiǎn)
  •  Indonesian: rajin‎
  •  Faroese: íðin‎, dúgligur‎, arbeiðssamur‎
  •  Finnish: tunnollinen‎, huolellinen‎
  •  Polish: pilny‎ (masc.)
  •  Thai: ขยัน‎ (khayǎn)

How can the word diligent be used in a sentence?

The word diligent can be used in many different sentences in the English language. Using words in a sentence is a great way to memorize their definition, as is making flashcards or quizzes for yourself. Try using this word of the day in a sentence today to memorize its definition. Below are several examples of diligent. 

The diligent student was in pursuit of perfection to live up to the expectations of his parents. He did assiduous practice on the violin, and his perseverance landed him a scholarship to Princeton University.

Marylanders were diligently following the orders set forth by the government. With positivity rates od COVID-19 cases on the rise, everyone wore their masks to protect others.

The diligent detective followed the clues all the way to the suspicious publisher at Random House. He later discovered the shady publisher was participating in insider trading with someone at Harpercollins Publishers.

The secretary was in a diligent search of the files. She wanted to avoid the repremands her boss often slung at her and keep her self esteem.

With diligent use of his long legs, the boy strode across campus to deliver a message from one teacher to another.

What are synonyms and antonyms of diligent?

There are several different words that a person can use in place of the word diligent. These words are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same definition as another given word or phrase. Learning synonyms is a great way to expand your English language vocabulary and avoid repeating yourself. This list of synonyms for the word diligent is provided by Thesaurus.

  •  assiduous
  •  occupied
  •  persevering
  •  indefatigable
  •  careful
  •  plugging
  •  pertinacious
  •  grind
  •  laborious
  •  eager beaver
  •  constant
  •  sedulous
  •  attentive
  •  active
  •  untiring
  •  steadfast
  •  earnest
  •  studious
  •  persistent
  •  tireless
  •  busy
  •  industrious
  •  eager
  •  persisting
  •  unflagging
  •  painstaking
  •  operose
  •  hard-working
  •  unrelenting
  •  conscientious

There are also numerous different words that have the opposite meaning of diligent. These opposite words are called antonyms. Learning antonyms is another quick and easy way to expand your vocabulary. This list of antonyms of diligent is also provided by Thesaurus.

  •  tardy
  •  laggard
  •  unconcerned
  •  asleep on the job
  •  indifferent
  •  trifling
  •  out of it
  •  idle
  •  procrastinating
  •  remiss
  •  neglectful
  •  lagging
  •  passive
  •  dallying
  •  slow
  •  languorous
  •  somnolent
  •  loafing
  •  lazy
  •  sleepy
  •  slothful
  •  unenergetic
  •  flagging
  •  sluggish
  •  comatose
  •  inattentive
  •  tired
  •  shiftless
  •  slack
  •  lackadaisical
  •  apathetic
  •  unindustrious
  •  supine
  •  indolent
  •  languid
  •  dilatory
  •  slow-moving
  •  snoozy
  •  unpersevering
  •  unready
  •  lethargic
  •  drowsy
  •  inert
  •  weary
  •  dull
  •  torpid
  •  lifeless
  •  inactive
  •  careless

What is the origin of diligent?

According to Etymonline, the word diligent (adj.) has been used since the mid-14th century Middle English, from the Old French diligent, a 14c word, and from the Latin diligentem, the nominative diligens/Latin dīligēns meaning attentive or careful. This is the present participle of diligere meaning to single out or aspire to. This comes from the prefix dis meaning apart and the Latin legere meaning to choose or gather. This comes from the Proto-Indo-European root leg meaning to collect or gather. One can add the suffixes ly and ence to make the related words diligently (adv.) and diligence (n.)

Overall, the word diligent means acting with an energetic or steady effort. A person who is diligent exercises caution, and never has an undue lack of concern or neglect. They implement painstaking effort into their work. This is a derivation from the present-participle adjective of the Latin diligere, Latin diligens and other Proto-Indo-European roots. Try using this word of the day in a sentence today to memorize its definition!


  1. Diligent | Definition of Diligent | Merriam-Webster  
  2. DILIGENT Synonyms: 47 Synonyms & Antonyms for DILIGENT | Thesaurus 
  3. LAZY Synonyms: 60 Synonyms & Antonyms for LAZY | Thesaurus 
  4. diligent: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense 
  5. diligent | Origin and meaning of diligent | Online Etymology Dictionary