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indolent - definition of the word indolent


Updated June 25, 2014


The word indolent has two meanings, both related.

  1. In one sense, indolent means lazy, lethargic or idle.
  2. When applied to a medical situation, indolent can mean a problem that causes no pain, or is slow growing and not immediately problematic.

Your doctor may tell you that a tumor is indolent. That means that it will grow slowly, and you have some time to make decisions about how you will treat it. Likewise, an ulcer may be considered indolent, meaning it is present, but not causing pain.

"Indolent" comes from the Latin word indolens, which means insensitive to pain.

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