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

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

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What does the word inadvertent mean?

According to Vocabulary, Merriam-Webster Unabridged English Dictionary, and Cambridge Dictionary, the word inadvertently is an adverb that means in a way that is not intentional. The noun form of the word is inadvertency. Try using this word of the day or other new words in a sentence today!

There are many different languages that also contain words that mean inadvertent. You may notice that many of these words look similar to one another. This is likely because these words share a common origin or root. Often, cognates – which are words that look, sound, and mean something similar across languages – are formed when they share a common language of origin like Latin or Greek. Translations are useful to know if you are speaking with someone who does not speak English or if you are visiting a foreign country. This list of translations for the word inadvertently is provided by Word Sense

  • Greek: άθελα‎
  • German: unabsichtlich‎, unbeabsichtigt‎, ungewollt‎, unfreiwillig‎
  • Portuguese: sem querer‎, involuntariamente‎, despropositadamente‎
  • Slovak: nechtiac‎, neúmyselne‎, omylom‎
  • Japanese: うっかり‎ (ukkari), 何気無く‎ (なにげなく, nanigenaku)
  • Italian: involontariamente‎
  • Mandarin: 無意‎, 无意‎, 不經意間‎, 不经意间‎ (bùjīngyìjiān)
  • Finnish: tahattomasti‎
  • Dutch: onopzettelijk‎, (abusievelijk‎)
  • Catalan: involuntàriament‎
  • French: involontairement‎, inintentionnellement‎, par inadvertance‎
  • Spanish: sin querer‎, involuntariamente‎
  • Turkish: kazara‎
  • Czech: nechtěně‎
  • Swedish: oavsiktligt‎
  • Esperanto: senvole‎
  • Russian: непреднаме́ренно‎, неумы́шленно‎
  • Dutch: onbedoeld‎

How can the word inadvertently be used in a sentence?

The word inadvertently can be used in a number of different ways across American English and British English. This word is often used to describe accidents or things that have been done unintentionally. In this first example, Joey is very nervous when his mom comes home.

Mom: Hey Joe! First time home alone, how did it go?

Joey: I, um, I, well, I might have accidentally inadvertently completely unintentionally broken the vase that was on the dining room table?

Mom: How?!

Joey: I was trying to play indoor baseball with myself.

In this example, Joey uses the word inadvertently to describe the fact that the breaking of the vase was not on purpose. Often, people will use this word to avoid getting in trouble. In this next example, Rick is apologizing to his company.

Rick: Hi, Team. I know you are all aware of why you are here today. I inadvertently send an indecent image of myself to the entire company. I can assure you, this was completely unintentional, but I will be taking a leave of absence to allow us all time to heal.

In this example, Rick uses the word inadvertently to show his company that he did not mean to send everyone a picture of his genitals. In the next example, Rebecca comes home from a party and is very nervous.

Rebecca: Don’t be mad.

Dad: I wasn’t. Should I be?

Rebecca: Okay, so we were leaving the party and I was DD and everything and we loaded everyone in the back and then Jamie reached up and cranked the wheel and I inadvertently ran into the curb and there’s a big dent and I promise it wasn’t on purpose!

What are synonyms and antonyms for the word inadvertently?

There are many different words that one can use in place of the word inadvertently. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same meaning as another word or phrase. Synonyms are useful to know if you are trying to avoid repeating yourself as well as if you are working on expanding your vocabulary. This list of synonyms for the word inadvertently is provided by Thesaurus.

  • haphazardly
  • fortuitously
  • by mistake
  • unwittingly
  • negligently
  • heedlessly
  • unintentionally
  • accidentally
  • carelessly
  • not by design
  • rashly
  • recklessly
  • involuntarily

There are also numerous different words that have the opposite meaning as the word inadvertently. These are called antonyms. Antonyms are also useful English language words to know if you are trying to work on expanding your vocabulary. This list of antonyms for the word inadvertently is also provided by Thesaurus

  • with eyes wide open
  • willfully
  • voluntarily
  • advisedly
  • purposively
  • by design
  • apurpose
  • explicitly
  • on purpose
  • purposely
  • resolutely
  • premeditatedly
  • wittingly
  • studiously
  • consciously
  • with full intent
  • with a view to
  • meaningfully
  • expressly
  • designedly
  • determinedly
  • knowingly
  • premeditatively
  • deliberately
  • calculatingly
  • designed
  • emphatically
  • freely
  • prepensely
  • purposely
  • with intent
  • after consideration
  • in cold blood
  • of one’s own free will
  • intentionally
  • calculatedly
  • advertantly
  • independently
  • with malice aforethought
  • to that end
  • purposefully
  • without qualms
  • pointedly

What is the origin of the word inadvertent?

According to Etymonline, the word inadvertently has been used as an adverb since the 1670s as a back formation from the word inadvertent. The word inadvertent is also a back formation from the word inadvertence and has been used since the 1650s to mean not properly attentive or unintentional. The word inadvertence has been used since the mid-15th century to mean carelessness or inattention. This comes from the Old French inadvertance meaning thoughtlessness or heedlessness. This comes from the Scholastic Latin inadvertentia from the prefix in and the root advertentia, from the Latin advertere meaning to direct one’s attention to or to turn toward, which is also where we get the related word advertise.

Overall, the word inadvertently is an adverb that describes something that is done in a way that is not intentional. This is often used to mitigate things that have gone wrong, or to apologize for accidents. This word is of Latin origin. 

Sources:

  1. https://www.wordsense.eu/inadvertent/#English
  2. https://www.etymonline.com/word/inadvertently
  3. https://www.etymonline.com/word/inadvertent?ref=etymonline_crossreference
  4. https://www.etymonline.com/word/inadvertence?ref=etymonline_crossreference
  5. https://www.thesaurus.com/browse/inadvertently
  6. https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/inadvertently
  7. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/inadvertent
  8. https://www.thesaurus.com/browse/on%20purpose
  9. https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/inadvertently