Indolence vs insolence

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Indolence is a noun encompasses the attitude of being sedentary or going out of one’s way to avoid work. In general to be lazy or slothful. The adjective form is indolent and the adverb form is indolently.

Side note: Indolent is used in medical terminology to describe something that causes no pain or is progressing or growing slowly.

Insolence is a noun for impolite or disrespectful attitudes and behavior. A child or underling could show insolence to a guardian or supervisor, respectively. The adjective form is insolent and the adverb form is insolently.


This is a team who no longer appear to care about rational criticism, since they have been excused their indolence by the man who pays their extravagant wages. [The Independent]

They have no official owners and live an independent, indolent life more suited to a cat. [The New Zealand Herald]

While the average American has been indolently lurching toward the holiday season, retailers have been bracing for an ultra-competitive fight. [Fortune]

The actress, who earned an Oscar nomination at 10 for her portrayal of a kid beauty pageant hopeful in “Little Miss Sunshine,” moves through all the phases of facing a death sentence with the kind of distracted insolence you would expect of a teenager. [Los Angeles Times]

“Though Mr. Ross was insolent, insubordinate and untruthful in many of his comments … that conduct is not a sufficient nexus to the ensuing illegal strike.” [CBC]

Nevertheless, the historical drama succeeded in providing a sort of catharsis to the Korean people whose wounded pride needed to be soothed after the inconsiderate remarks made by extreme right-wing politicians in Japan, who insolently deny responsibility for the Japanese colonization of Korea in the early 20th century. [The Korea Herald]