Insolent vs insolvent

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Insolent and insolvent are two words that are sometimes confused. We will examine the difference between the definitions of insolent and insolvent, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

Insolent means displaying a lack of respect, being rude, contemptuous or too bold in the face of authority. The word insolent is derived from the Latin word insolentem, which means unwonted, unusual, arrogant, beyond what is acceptable. Related words are insolence and insolently.

Insolvent means unable to pay off one’s debts, insolvent may describe a person, company or other institution. The word insolvent is derived from the Latin word solventem which means paying and the prefix in- which means not. A related word is insolvency.


The new movie, which stars Cynthia Nixon, lets a radiant, riotous, insolent humor illuminate the self-imposed confines of Dickinson’s family circle and the boundaries of conventional thought and behavior that reinforced her sense of isolation. (The New Yorker)

Carrying placards seeking resolution to long pending Kashmir issue, the protesting religious preachers said that the “dignity of people of Kashmir is at stake while the insolent attitude of New Delhi has been aggravating the situation”. (The Kashmir Monitor)

Failed builder Watersun Homes could have been trading insolvent for more than a year before its collapse, accepting money from customers while contractors complained about unpaid bills worth tens of thousands of dollars, according to the company’s administrators. (The Sydney Morning Herald)

But last week, the woman’s attorney went back to court saying the petitioner believes the company is insolvent and unable to pay its debt as the sum owed to her “remains wholly unsatisfied”. (The Jamaica Gleaner)